Place of Death
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
URSS brightest star of 1940s, best role in `Veselye Rebyata` musical comedy
Profile Bio Text
Lyubov Orlova was the Russian film star number 1 in the 1940s. She was born Lyubov Petrovna Orlova on January 29, 1902 in Zvenigorod, a suburb of Moscow, Russia. Her father, Petr Orlov, was an officer in the Russian Imperial Army, her mother, Evgenia Sukhotina, belonged to Russian Landed Gentry. Through her parents, Orlova was a descendant from an old Russian aristocratic family of Prince Orlov, and was also related to Count Leo Tolstoy, for whom she sang along with the popular Russian basso Feodor Chaliapin Sr. in 1909. From 1919 to 1922 Orlova studied piano and singing at the Moscow Conservatory, but she did not graduate. From 1922-1926, Orlova studied dancing and choreography at the Moscow Theatre College. Then she worked on stage with director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko at the Moscow Musical Theatre of Stanislavsky.
In 1926 Orlova married Andrei Berezin, a prominent Soviet opposition politician. He was arrested in 1930, and was imprisoned for many years. Orlova was seen on stage by many influential people; she had other relationships before she met director Grigori Aleksandrov. He was looking for an actress to co-star opposite Leonid Utyosov in `Veselye Rebyata`. After that film, Aleksandrov divorced from his wife and married Orlova. She became the leading star of the Soviet film industry. Joseph Stalin liked her very much and promoted her to the title of Honorable Actress of Russian Federation in January of 1935. Stalin was probably in a good mood, when he offered Orlova to make her wish come true. She asked about the fate of her first husband. Stalin was surprised. Soon Orlova was called to visit the Lubyanka office of NKVD (KGB). There she was told that her ex-husband is alive in prison and that she may see him, and even join him. She was humbled and left quietly. Later in 1949 her ex-husband was diagnosed with cancer, released from prison and died in Lithuania at the home of his mother.
Stalin made Orlova the regular guest at Kremlin parties. Her films `Tsirk` (aka.. Circus 1936), `Volga-Volga` (1938), and `Svetly Put` (aka.. The Shining Path 1940, aka.. Tanya) were hugely successful. For her leading roles in `Volga-Volga` and `Svetly Put` Orlova was awarded with the State Stalin Prize. `Volga-Volga` was one of Joseph Stalin`s favoritemovies. He even offered a copy to president Franklin Roosevelt.
At the beginning of the Nazi invasion of Russia during the Second World War, both Orlova and Aleksandrov were filming in Riga, Latvia. They rushed to Moscow. There Aleksandrov served at the night watch during bombings. He was severely wounded by a bomb explosion in September of 1941, and suffered from spinal trauma for the rest of his life. In the fall of 1941 Orlova and Aleksandrov were evacuated to Baku, Azerbaijan. There they made a film `Odna Semya` (A Family 1943) which was banned by the Soviet Censorship Committee. The film was too far from the reality of a country at war when movies were supposed to tell about the fight of the Soviet people against the Nazi invasion. Orlova was known to be immune from gossips and rumors. She was also known to be faithful to Aleksandrov. Though she worked mainly in his films, she also worked in films made by other directors. She was never allowed by her director-husband Aleksandrov to be kissed in film, with one exception made for actor Andrei Tutyshkin. Her characters were sexy in a way acceptable by the rigid Soviet censorship under Stalin. Orlova suffered from sensitivity to daylight from 1930, after the stressful arrest of her first husband. She also suffered from severe insomnia. She was spending much time at her home behind shielded windows. Her work with Aleksandrov in `Russki suvenir` (Russian Souvenir 1960) was a flop. Her last stage performance was in Leningrad, in 1963, after that she was not seen on stage. Her last film with Aleksandrov, `Skvorets i Lira` (1973), was not released upon Orlova`s insistence, because she was shocked with her own looks in the film. Lyubov Orlova was the first Russian film star to use plastic surgeries in her later years. She also refused to be photographed, and was hiding from public. She died of pancreatic cancer on January 26, 1975, and three days later, on her birthday, she was laid to rest in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.
Full Name at Birth
Lyubov Petrovna Orlova
Lyubov Petrovna Orlova, (Russian: Любо́вь Петро́вна Орло́ва; 29 January [O.S. 16 January] 1902, Zvenigorod – 26 January 1975, Moscow) was the first recognized star of Soviet cinema, famous theatre actress and a gifted singer.
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Actor, Pianist, Singer, Dancer
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