Mark Zakharov is a Soviet and Russian theatrical director and playwright. He was also a professor of the Moscow Theatre Institute (GITIS). Born on October 13, 1933 in Moscow, USSR, Mark Zakharov's father was a Red Army soldier during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920, and his mother was an actress. Zakharov was raised in Moscow, where he was encouraged by his mother in his persistent efforts to become an actor. He was admitted after several attempts, and graduated from the acting school of the State Theatre Institute in 1955. Zakharov helped create an ensemble of actors who worked with him at Moscow's Lenkom Theatre, including: Inna Churikova, Leonid Bronevoy, Oleg Yankovsky, Aleksandr Abdulov, Nikolai Karachentsov, Aleksandr Zbruyev, Aleksandra Zakharova, Tatyana Kravchenko, Aleksandr Lazarev, and Dmitri Pevtsov. Mark Zakharov has been the Artistic Director of Moscow's Lenkom Theatre since 1973, where he has helped to define the landscape of Moscow's theatrical culture.