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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions