LyudmilaMarkovnaGurchenko (Russian: Людмила Марковна Гурченко, Ukrainian: Людмила Марк?вна Гурченко, date of birth: 12 November 1935 - 30 March 2011) was a popular Soviet and Russian actress, singer and entertainer.
Lyudmila was born in Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR in 1935 to Mark Gavrilovich Gurchenko (1898 - 1973) and Yelena Aleksandrovna Simonova-Gurchenko (1917 - 1999). Before the World War II they lived in a single room apartment on a ground floor at Mordvynivsky provulok #17. At that time her parents worked at Kharkiv Region Philharmony. Mark Gurchenko was known to play on bayan (Russian accordion). In childhood Lyudmila lived with her mother under the German occupation of Ukraine in native city. After the liberation of Kharkiv Lyudmila took an introductory test to the local Beethoven Music School where she performed a "song with gestures" About Vitya Cherevichkin. Thanks to that she was accepted as a "future actress".
She moved to Moscow enrolling into the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. At 21 after starring in young Eldar Ryazanov's 1956 directorial debut, musical Carnival Night, Gurchenko overnight achieved the fame as well as the celebrity status. The film was enormously popular and made her famous overnight. Throughout the next two years she toured the entire country with her Carnival Night-inspired musical numbers, attracting crowds of fans.
The year of 1958 saw the release of another musical with Lyudmila, A Girl with a Guitar (Devushka s Gitaroi). The musical was not recommended for a wide distribution and was a box-office flop.
This branded Gurchenko as a one-hit wonder, not worthy of serious movie roles. According to the customs of the time, such branding effectively meant banning Her involvement in cinema and theater for several years. For the next two decades she 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 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 USSR's most popular and prolific directors. The role of the forty-something waitress Vera in this touching film became her long-awaited comeback as a superstar of Soviet film. Subsequently, she starred in several more 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.
In 2010, she was awarded the 2nd Class Order of Merit for the Fatherland (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 was frequently seen attending galas.
Gurchenko was married five 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.