Obituary: Lyudmila Tselikovskaya

Lyudmila Vasilyevna Tselikovskaya, actress, born Moscow 8 September 1919, died Moscow 4 July 1992.

LYUDMILA Tselikovskaya made an unforgettable impression as Tsarina Anastasia in Ivan the Terrible (1945), the classic film made by the giant of Russian cinema Sergei Eisenstein. But she also attracted crowds to screen comedies during the gloomy years of the Second World War.

Tselikovskaya graduated from the Boris Shchiukin Theatre School in June 1941, three weeks before the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Almost at once, her striking appearence attracted several directors, including Eisenstein. Although she had taken small parts while still a student her real screen debut came in Alexander Ivanovsky's Anton Ivanovich is Getting Angry (1941). She scored an instant and huge success. By word of mouth - Stalin's Moscow administration had disconnected all private telephones - it became known that here was a new and extremely pretty actress. Under heavy German bombardment, hungry and frozen people - that winter in Moscow the temperature reached -33C - massive crowds went to see the film.

But Tselikovskaya really made her name after the war, in the autumn of 1945, with the release of the comedy Four Hearts, directed by Konstantin Yudin. The film had been finished by the end of 1941 but, with German troops just 20 kilometres from the Kremlin, all cinemas were closed down and nearly the whole of the film industry was evacuated to Kazakhstan and part of it to the Urals. The first screening was delayed until 1945, and Four Hearts continued to be a huge box-office success for the next three years and is now regarded as a Soviet classic.

Her appearance in Ivan the Terrible in the part of Ivan's favourite wife, Anastasia, proved that her talent was not limited to comedy. The premiere of the first part of the film was held while the war was still on, in January 1945. But the second part was banned in 1946 because Stalin did not like the negative portrayal of Ivan's secret police, driving Eisenstein to distraction. He died in 1948, aged 50, without seeing it screened. The second part was not shown in the Soviet Union until 1958, five years after Stalin's death in 1953.

After the war Tselikovskaya was invited to join the prestigious Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theatre, and appeared in many films, but it took her 10 years to make her next noted film, Poprygunya, based on a short story by Anton Chekhov, which marked the debut of the director Samson Samsonov. It received a prize at the 1955 Venice Film Festival.

Tselikovskaya's personal charm, vitality and beauty attracted many powerful men to her. Both Stalin and Khrushchev had all her films in their private collections and used them to entertain Western politicians and diplomats. She appeared occasionally in television films in the Brezhnev era, and established herself on the stage, but her film career was largely finished with Stalin.

She lived alone, completely forgotten and half-blind in her flat in Moscow and was rediscovered by the Russian press only after her death. Several film clubs are now preparing a festival of her films to be held at the end of this year.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory