Lyubov Orlova (Lyubov Orlova)

Lyubov Orlova

Actress. The Soviet Union’s most popular movie star of the 1930s. She shot to fame in a series of glossy, escapist musical-comedies, typically playing humble working girls who climb the ladder of Soviet society through talent and ideological correctness. Her biggest hits included “Circus” (1936), “Volga-Volga” (1938),  and “Bright Road” (1940),  all directed by her husband,  Grigori Alexandrov.  Lyubov Petrovna Orlova was born in Zvenigorod and studied singing at the Moscow Conservatory.  Her first marriage,  to Trotskyite politician Andrei Berezin,  ended with his arrest and banishment to the gulag in 1930,  though this had no noticeable affect on her career.  She was a regular at Nemirovich-Danchenko’s Operetta Theatre before making her screen debut in a supporting role in “Petersburg Night” (1933).  A brilliant singer,  versatile and glamorous,  Orlova was plucked from obscurity by rising young filmaker Alexandrov,  who hoped to import Hollywood’s musical genre to the USSR.  The smash result,  “The Jolly Fellows” (1934),  made both their fortunes.  They married in 1935 and with two exceptions (“The Engineer’s Error” in 1939 and “Mussorgsky” in 1950) she worked with no other film director for the rest of her life.  Alexandrov was so possessive he refused to allow her to do kissing scenes,  which only reinforced her untouchably sexy image.   She was named People’s Artist of the Russian Federation in 1935 and won a Stalin Prize in 1941.  After World War II she was seen primarily on the stage.  Among her other screen credits are “The Artamanov Affair” (1941),  “Spring” (1947),  “Meeting on the Elbe” (1949),  “The Composer Glinka” (1952),  and “Russian Souvenir” (1960).  Distressingly conscious of her age,  Orlova retired in 1963 and became a virtual recluse;  a comeback film,  “Skvorets i Lira” (1973),  was never released.  Alexandrov paid her homage in his documentary “Lyubov Orlova” (1983). (bio by: Bobb Edwards)  Family links:  Spouse:  Grigori Alexandrov (1903 – 1983)


  • January, 29, 1902


  • January, 01, 1975


  • Novodevichy Cemetery
  • Russia

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