The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

In the US, she is known better than at home: the story of the only Russian actress to receive an Oscar


Source: Rambler

They know more about actress Lila Kedrova in the US than in their historical homeland, writes Rambler.

Screenshot: “Penelope” (1966). Antoine Anatolevich/ YouTube

Her family emigrated from Soviet Russia when the girl was still young. The Kedrovs first lived in Germany, and then moved to France, where later Elizaveta Kedrova changed her name to Lilya and became an actress. How an emigrant from Russia managed to become a famous film star at an already mature age, says Rambler.

Lily's father, Nikolai Kedrov, graduated from the conservatory in Russia, performed on the stage of the opera house and created a quite successful musical quartet, which he managed to revive abroad. The Kedrov Quartet was a success and toured all over Europe. It is not surprising that parents really wanted their daughter and son to continue the musical dynasty. Brother Lily was a member of her father's quartet, while she decided to become an actress.

On the subject: Not only Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears: Soviet and Russian films that won an Oscar

Parents, fortunately, allowed their daughter to choose her own destiny: Lily studied at a theater school in Paris, and at the age of 14 she joined the troupe of former artists of the Moscow Art Theater and began performing on stage.

The film debut of Lily Kedrova took place in 1938: in the film about the war "Ultimatum" she played the role of a Russian girl named Irina. Lily herself said that she was 20 at that time (Kedrova claimed that she was born in 1918, all documents were lost during the family’s flight from Russia), but some researchers believe that the actress was at least 10 years older.

Lilia Kedrova. Screenshot: Panos Xatz / YouTube

One way or another, and the role in Ultimatum became the only one for Lily for a long 15 years. It seemed that Kedrova’s career ended, so plainly and did not begin. But fate had its own plans.

Slowly, the directors began to offer Lily roles, but the main ones were not. However, Kedrova became quite famous in France, she was even called "a favorite actress of small roles." But her fame did not go beyond the borders of the country.

The invitation to the role of Madame Hortense in the film “Greek Zorba” by the Greek director Michalis Kakoyannis Lily was accepted without hesitation, although she practically did not know the English language spoken in the film. According to rumors, upon arrival at the filming location (island of Crete), Lily was sick and in a couple of days she simply learned all the phrases of her heroine.

Whether this is true or not, it is hardly possible to say one hundred percent right now, but it is absolutely certain that Madame Hortense’s role has become decisive in her career. In 1964, the film "Greek Zorba" was nominated for an Oscar in seven categories at once, in three of which it won. Lily Kedrova received the award in the nomination "Best Supporting Actress". Thus, she became the only actress of Russian origin, who became the owner of the Oscar.

Kedrova became very popular, she starred in the United States, France, Canada, Italy, Roman Polanski, Alfred Hitchcock and many other eminent directors were happy to work with her. Lily starred in almost a hundred films and series in both Hollywood and Europe, and won many prestigious awards.

The actress died in February 2000, in the last years of her life suffering from heart failure and Alzheimer's disease.

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