Lyudmila Gurchenko

Intro Soviet and Russian actress, singer
A.K.A. Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko
Was Singer Actor Film actor Musician Film score composer Film director Screenwriter Writer Memoirist
From Russia
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Literature Music
Gender female
Birth 12 November 1935, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Death 30 March 2011, Moscow, Russia (aged 75 years)
Star sign Scorpio

Lyudmila Gurchenko in December 2010 Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko (Russian: Людмила Марковна Гурченко, Ukrainian: Людмила Марківна Гурченко Ludmyla Markivna Hurchenko, informal – Lucia, 12 November 1935 – 30 March 2011), was a popular Soviet and Russian actress, singer and entertainer .


Lyudmila Gurchenko was born in Kharkiv, USSR (now Ukraine) in 1935 to Mark Gavrilovich Gurchenko (1898–1973) and Yelena Aleksandrovna (or Olena Oleksandrivna in Ukrainian) Simonova-Gurchenko (1917–1999). Before World War II they lived in a single room apartment on the ground floor at Mordvinovsky Lane No. 17 (now Gurchenko Lane #7). At that time, her parents worked at the Kharkiv Philharmonic Society. Mark Gurchenko was known to play the bayan (Russian accordion). Gurchenko spent a part of her childhood with her mom during the time of the German occupation of USSR in her native city, while her father joined the army and, together with his concert brigade, survived the war. After the withdrawal of the German Army from Kharkiv, Gurchenko auditioned for the local Beethoven Music School, where she performed the song About Vitya Cherevichkin with gestures, after which she was accepted as an acting student. She moved to Moscow, enrolling in the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. At age 21, after starring in Eldar Ryazanov's 1956 directorial debut, the musical Carnival Night, Gurchenko overnight achieved fame as well as celebrity status. Throughout the next two years she toured the entire country with her Carnival Night-inspired musical numbers, attracting crowds of fans. The Soviet cultural establishment, however, deemed her style too western and too out of line with Soviet standards. She was accused of receiving wages above State-set levels as compensation for her shows. She became the target of highly critical articles in several influential Soviet periodicals, including Tap Dance to the Left (Чечетка налево, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 1957, [1]) and Dositheos Morals (Досифеевские нравы, Ogonyok, 1958, [2], devoted to her financial wrongdoing and her alleged lack of patriotism. The year of 1958 saw the release of another musical with Ludmila, Girl with a Guitar, shot mostly before these articles were published. The musical was not recommended for wide distribution and was a box-office flop. In the mid 1970s, Gurchenko starred in several films, which, although only moderately successful, helped showcase her dramatic talent. In 1979 she landed a role in director Andrei Konchalovsky's Siberiade and in 1982 in Station for Two, once again by Eldar Ryazanov, who by then had become one of the USSR's most popular and prolific directors. The role of forty-something waitress Vera in this touching film became her long-awaited comeback as a superstar of Soviet film. Subsequently, she starred in Vladimir Menshov's Love and Pigeons, among many other movies and TV shows. Her multifaceted talent was recognized on many occasions. She received the title of People's Artist of the USSR, the highest honour that could be bestowed to a musical artist, in 1983. She carried a leading role in The Burn (Ожог – 1988) with Director Gennady Glagoliev and Director of Photography Igor Chepusov. Gurchenko wrote a book about her life during German occupation in Kharkiv and about her life in the beginning of her Acting Career. In 2010, she was awarded an Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd Class (she received the 4th Class of the same Order in 2000 and the 3d Class in 2005), one of the highest civil decorations in post-Soviet Russia (with 3rd and 2nd Degree Orders having been awarded to very few extremely distinguished individuals, and the 1st Degree Order being nominally held by a serving President of Russia). At the age of 70, she still performed and attended galas.

Personal life

Gurchenko was married six times, including a short-lived marriage to Iosif Kobzon in 1969. She had one daughter, Maria (born 1959) from her first marriage, and two grandchildren as well as one great-granddaughter. On 14 February 2011, Gurchenko fell near her house and broke her hip. She was taken to the hospital and underwent an operation the following day. On 30 March her condition worsened – either due to the operation or a heart failure – and she died that evening. She was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery (Moscow) after a civil funeral a few days later.

Selected filmography

Doroga pravdy (1956) Chelovek rodilsya (1956) as Nadya Smirnova (voice) A Girl with a Guitar (1956) as Tanya Fedosova Carnival Night (Карнавальная ночь, 1956) as Lena Krylova Devushka s gitaroy (1958) as Lyusya Baltiyskoe nebo – 1 seriya (1961) as Sonya Roman e Francesca (1961) Chelovek niotkuda (1961) Sluttish (1961) Baltiyskoe nebo – 2 seriya (1961) as Sonya Gulyashchaya (1961)5 Jalgrattataltsutajad (1964) as Rita Balzaminov's Marriage (Женитьба Бальзаминова, 1964) as Ustinka Rabochiy posyolok (1966) as Mariya – Leonid's wife Stroitsya most (1966) as Zhenya Vzorvannyy ad (1967) as Greta Net i da (1967) as Lyusya Korablyova Belyy vzryv (1969) as Vera Arsenova Moy dobryy papa (1970) Eksperiment (1970) Odin iz nas (1971) as Klara Ovcharenko Doroga na Ryubetsal (1971) Ten (1971) as Yulia Juli The Crown of the Russian Empire, or Once Again the Elusive Avengers (Корона Российской Империи, или Снова Неуловимые, 1971) as Agrafena Zavolzhskaya Karpukhin (1973) as Ovsyannikova Letniye sny (1973) as Galina Sakhno Dacha (1973) as Lera Otkrytaya kniga (1973) as Glafira Rybakova Old Walls (Старые стены, 1973) as Anna Smirnova Deti Vanyushina (1974) as Klavdiya Shchyotkina Starye steny (1974) as Anna Smirnova The Straw Hat (Соломенная шляпка, 1974, TV Mini-Series) as Clara Bocardon Dnevnik direktora shkoly (1975) as Nina Sergeyevna uchitelnitsa Shag navstrechu (1976) as Valentina Stepanovna Prestuplenie (1976) as Lyuba Ma-ma (Мама, 1976) as Goat-Mom Sentimentalnyy roman (1976) as Mariya Petruchenko Heavenly Swallows (Небесные ласточки, 1976) as Korina Semeynaya melodrama (1976) as Valentina Barabanova Dvadtsat dney bez voyny (1977) as Nina The Second Attempt of Viktor Krokhin (1977) Vtoraya popytka Viktora Krokhina (1977) Obratnaya svyaz (1978) as Margarita Illarionovna Vyaznikova Ukhodya – ukhodi (1978) Five Evenings (Пять вечеров, 1979) as Tamara Vasilyevna Sibiriada (1979) as Taya Solomina v 60-e godi Poznavaya belyy svet (1980) as Stranger Osobo vazhnoye zadaniye (1981) Idealnyy muzh (1981) as Mrs. Laura Cheveley Waiting for Love (Любимая женщина механика Гаврилова, 1981) as Rita Polyoty vo sne i nayavu (1983) as Larisa Yuryevna Station for Two (Вокзал для двоих, 1983) as Vera Nikolayevna Nefedova Magistral (1983) as Gvozdeva Shurochka (1983) Recipe of Her Youth (1983) Prokhindiada, ili Beg na meste (1984) as Ekaterina Ivanovna Love and Pigeons (Любовь и голуби, 1985) as Raisa Zakharovna Aplodismenty, aplodismenty… (1985) Mechtateli (1987) as Grafinyata Ozhog (1988) A byl li Karotin (1990) Nelud, ili V rayu zapreshchena okhota (1990) as Zoya Sherstobitova – predsedatel gorispolkoma Nasha dacha (1990) Moya moryachka (1990) Imitator (1990) as Singer Viva gardemarines! (Виват, гардемарины!, 1991) as Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp Sekskazka (1991) Prosti nas, machekha-Rossiya (1991) as Natalya Fyodorovna Zimina Gardemarines-III (Гардемарины-III, 1992) as Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp Prokhindiada 2 (1994) – Yekaterina Ivanovna Old Hags (Старые клячи, 2000) as Liza Karnavalnaya noch 2, ili 50 let spustya (2007) Pestrye sumerki (2010) as Anna Dmitrievna (final film role)

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