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Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko

Great Russian women

Lyudmila Gurchenko

Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko was born on November 12, 1935 in Kharkov. In 1953, after school, she went to Moscow and entered State Art University VGIK. She studied in Sergey Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova's workshop, and graduated in 1958. 1964-66 she was an actress of theatre "Sovremennik", 1966-69 was in the troupe of GosKoncert (State Estrada). Her first cinema debut was in film by Yan Frid "Road of Truth" in 1956. The same year she appeared in New Year's comedy of young director Eldar Riazanov "Carnival Night", in which leading roles, under Ivan Pyrev's insisting, were played by well known actor Igor Ilinsky and student Lyudmila Gurchenko.

The film had tremendous success and for many years was popular with Russian viewers, and due to role of Lena Krylova, Gurchenko became the all-Union favourite. The next year she starred in a comedy "Girl with guitar". Yet the musical was a box-office flop due to previous critical publications about Ludmila Gurchenko: her personal style and her financial wrong-doing.

For the next two decades Lyudmila struggled to get leading roles in new movies, while making a living by travelling all over the country with her stand-up acts and musical numbers. In the mid 1970s Gurchenko starred in several films, which, although moderately successful, helped showcase Lyudmila's dramatic talent. Finally, 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 USSR's most popular and prolific directors. This movie made Gurchenko a superstar of Soviet film.

Among Lyudmila Gurchenko's best works are the following movies: "20 days without war" by Aleksey German, "Five evenings" by Nikita Mihalkov, "Beloved woman of mechanic Gavrilov" by Peter Todorovsky, "Flights in dreams and reality" Roman Balayan's, musical comedy "A straw hat" by Leonid Khvinihidze. Lyudmila Gurchenko received the title of People's Artist of the USSR, the highest honour that could be bestowed to a musical artist, in 1983. In 2000, she was awarded the 4th Degree Order for the Service to the Motherland, one of the highest civil decorations in post-Soviet Russia.

Gurchenko died on 30 March 2011 at her home at age 75 as a result of a serious illness.

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