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Marina Ladynina, 94; Russian Film Star Played Peasant Roles

From Staff and Wire Reports

Marina Ladynina, 94, a popular Russian film comedian during the reign of Joseph Stalin, died in a Moscow hospital of unspecified causes, Russian news reports said Monday.

Born in Achinsk Siberia, Ladynina graduated from the Institute of Theatrical Art and worked for several years at Moscow Theater.

She made her screen debut in the 1935 Russian motion picture known in the U.S. as “Paths of Enemies.” Short and down to earth, fast-talking and funny, the actress came into her own in musical comedies made by her director husband, Ivan Pyriev.

Among Ladynina’s best-known films were “Tractor Drivers” in 1939 “Swineherd and Shepherd” in 1941, which earned the Stalin Prize and became a favorite of the dictator’s. The actress was frequently among Stalin’s guests at political and social gatherings. Her less-than-glamorous peasant roles symbolized the theoretical prosperity and happiness of Soviet life on collective farms in the Stalinist era.

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Ladynina’s film career waned when Stalin’s rule ended in 1953, but she continued to work in theater and read poetry. Ladynina received five state prizes for her work, including People’s Artist of the Soviet Union.


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