He studied at the drama courses at the Maly Theater, then in the drama school of the Moscow Philharmonic. Since 1923 - an actor in the troupe of the Maly Theater. Throughout his long creative life he professed the artistic principles of the Maly Theater: deep life realism and romanticism. According to critics, N.I. Ryzhov played in the plays of A.N. Ostrovsky. People's Artist of the RSFSR (1949). People's Artist of the USSR (1971).