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The actress died on February 12 at the age of 89. Let’s take a look at her main work.

Zinaida Kiriyenko was born in 1933 in Makhachkala. During the war, her family left for Derbent, where Zinaida’s mother, Alexandra Petrovna, took the position of director of the elevator. The next place of their residence was the village of Novopavlovskaya, Stavropol Territory. After the seventh grade, the girl decided that she wanted to leave for Moscow, and entered the capital’s railway technical school. However, she did not like life in a big city, and after the first semester, Kiriyenko returned home. She completed her studies at the Georgievsky College of Agricultural Mechanization.

There was enough time to think about what she wants to become in the future. After graduating from a technical school, Zinaida was already convinced that she would not work in her specialty – she prefers to perform on stage. Once upon a time, this was what her mother wanted, who never realized her dream.

VGIK star

It was possible to enter VGIK on the first attempt, but in the conditional admission mode. Because of this, Zinaida Kiriyenko did not receive a scholarship or a place in a hostel. But this did not frighten the future actress.

She got on a course with People’s Artists of the USSR Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova, studied with Lyudmila Gurchenko, Natalya Fateeva. Sergei Apollinarievich, seeing a great talent in the freshman, invited her to star in his film “Hope”. The girl did it.

By that time, the director and teacher had already begun to look for actors for roles in the film Quiet Flows the Don based on the novel of the same name by Mikhail Sholokhov. Filming was about to begin. Looking at the work of Kiriyenko in Nadezhda, he decided that in front of him was the ideal Natalya Melekhova, the wife of the protagonist Grigory Melekhov. Zinaida, of course, agreed, especially since she truly admired her character.

The picture was shot in the city of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky and on the Dichensky farm (Rostov region). At first, the Cossacks did not really like this idea, but then they changed their minds – the members of the film crew became like relatives. Some locals even acted as extras, which is partly why the film turned out so naturalistic.

The role in the film, the first two series of which were released in 1957, made Zinaida a star of national scale, became her hallmark. The director, who considered The Quiet Don the main work of his life, was also very pleased with the choice. “This is genius!” – that’s what the famous master most often said to the actress on the set.

On the theater stage

After graduating from VGIK in 1958, the girl entered the service at the Moscow Drama Theater named after A.S. Pushkin, but played there only in one performance – “Route”. Then she went to the Moscow Drama Theater on Malaya Bronnaya. But even there she appeared in only two productions: “A Girl’s Heart Clouded” and “Barbie”.

In 1972, Zinaida Kiriyenko was already listed at the Theater-Studio of a film actor. There she played Madame de Renal in “Red and Black” based on the novel by Stendhal, Katerina in “Thunderstorm” by Alexander Ostrovsky, Nastya in “Indian Riot” by Mikhail Sholokhov and other performances. Most of all, as the actress herself believed, she succeeded in dramatic roles, not comedic ones.

“Cossacks”, “The Fate of Man” and others

At the same time, she acted in films a lot – offers poured in like from a cornucopia. Zinaida Kiriyenko played, for example, the main role in the film “The Thieving Magpie” by Naum Trakhtenberg based on the story of the same name by Alexander Herzen. This role of a serf actress was especially dear to her. She also played the wife of the protagonist Irina in The Fate of a Man, the directorial debut of Sergei Bondarchuk. The picture collected many awards and approved Kiriyenko as one of the main stars of those years. “The Fate of a Man” was named the best film of 1959 by the magazine “Soviet Screen”, it was awarded prizes at film festivals in Karlovy Vary, Minsk, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Georgetown and others.

In 1961, Kiriyenko reincarnated as Maryana, the main character in The Cossacks. The film was based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy. Director Vasily Pronin was among the nominees for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for this work. And the “Cossacks” played a special role in the fate of Kiriyenko herself – it was on these shootings that she met the love of her life, her husband Valery Tarasevsky, who was involved in the extras.

In 1964, the picture “The Enchanted Desna” was released, based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by the writer and director Alexander Dovzhenko. Kiriyenko played Odarka, the mother of the protagonist. The film received a special jury award at the XIII International Film Festival in San Sebastian.

People’s Artist, singer, public figure

A year later, Zinaida Kiriyenko received the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR, and another 12 years later – the People’s Artist. In 1978, she was awarded the Alexander Dovzhenko gold medal for her work in the film Fate, where she played Efrosinya Deryugina. In 1979, another important award – the USSR State Prize in the field of literature, art and architecture – already for the film adaptations “Fate” and “Earthly Love”.

In addition, the actress can be seen in such films as “A Cure for Fear”, “Poem of the Sea”, “Far from the Motherland”, “The Tale of Fiery Years”, “Aurora Volley”, and others.

Zinaida Kiriyenko also had an amazing voice. She gave solo concerts, went on tour, collaborated with composers. The actress was a member of the jury of the Moscow International Competition for Young Performers of the Russian Romance Romansiada.

Zinaida Mikhailovna was also involved in public affairs – she was the president of the Sholokhov Encyclopedia Foundation, a member of the presidium of the board of the Central House of Artists and the Council of the Russian Film Actors Guild.

The actress passed away on February 12. She died in Moscow at the age of 89.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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