On November 12, actress Lyudmila Gurchenko would have turned 87 years old.
“Poverty awakens fantasy,” the People’s Artist of the USSR Lyudmila Gurchenko liked to say. And she gushed! During her lifetime, she was called an icon of style, which she tried to match. To the detriment of health and personal life.
“There was no person who would be more interested in me”
“I cut all my dresses across, not according to the rules, in order to be unlike anyone else,” said Lyudmila Markovna. She lived like that – not according to the rules, contrary to. Reckless in her profession, leaving burnt bridges behind her, but not betraying herself. As director Nikita Mikhalkov said about her, “for a good role, she could set fire to her house.” The main thing for her was to get to the ideal, which she imagined somewhere in the fog.
– When she sat in company at the table, she was a real queen. Talked a lot, drank moderately, – recalls the actor Mikhail Boyarsky. -The stronger the personality, the more complex the character. If there were no character, there would be no Gurchenko.
She was equally demanding of herself and of others. She could easily get up and leave the set during the filming of the film if something was not ready. In the first place, Lyudmila Markovna had a job, in the second – her family. “I value my freedom, marriage is voluntary slavery,” said her heroine Raisa Zakharovna in the film Love and Doves. And this can be attributed to Gurchenko herself, although all her life she was looking for the only one. The second dad, whom she loved very much. She said to herself: “I had seven husbands and six divorces.” And she justified herself: “A feeling of fear that there will be a knife behind. I always feel it.”
And it’s not just about personal life. At the age of twenty-one, having starred in Ryazanov’s film “Carnival Night”, she became popular in one minute. Under the waist of Gurchenko, they lost weight, sewed dresses, muffs came into fashion, with which her heroine Lena Krylova performed on stage. Lyudmila Markovna hated this song “Five Minutes” all her life, but every time at the end of the concert she was asked to sing: “I will sing you a song about five minutes! Let them sing this song of mine! “I sang for two hours, told everything to no purpose, they only remember Five Minutes,” she was annoyed. But she sang. Because the viewer was the main thing for her.
And after this movie – silence. The next film “Girl with a Guitar” did not become so popular, figuratively speaking, it was a failure. Moreover, Gurchenko was accused of earning “left money” with concerts. What was she to do? The phone was silent, she was not invited anywhere. They whispered about her: “Singer – two stomp, three stomp.” At that time, the already popular Joseph Kobzon became the next spouse of the actress. But he pursued his career, did not help, and after three years of marriage they parted. Lyudmila Markovna could not forgive him for betrayal. She didn’t know how to forgive people at all. If you quarreled, then it was forever. “There has never been a person who would be more interested in me than everything that is connected with me – success, surname. Maybe this is my drama?!” — she said. At that time, she was supported by her father, who told her: “All good things are yet to come.” And she believed. She acted in episodes and waited for good roles.
For the sake of the film, I sold my furniture
Gurchenko was envied, and she knew it. Every time they tried to humiliate her, but the actress walked forward, raising her head proudly, trying to experiment. For example, I started writing music. In 1965, her song “Victory Holiday” was performed by Margarita Suvorova, who performed at a music competition. Then the famous composer, jury member Oscar Feltsman, having learned that the author was Lyudmila Gurchenko, said: “Amateur performance!” And it was a verdict – the song did not receive an award, and Suvorova was forbidden to perform it further.
– I was embarrassed by Lyudmila Markovna when we worked together on the set of the film “Station for Two”, – says People’s Artist of the USSR Oleg Basilashvili. – We filmed an episode in the car, such a scene is complicated, when we kind of declare our love to each other. I can not either. It seems that the text of the script is good, but I feel that something is not right. Well, it’s too literary. And then nothing happened. A day later, they call me to shoot. I come, and Gurchenko gives me the text, which she herself rewrote. I read and understand: what you need. She understood what was confusing me and helped me.
In the late 1990s, Lyudmila Gurchenko decided to release the musical Bureau of Happiness. She herself became a producer, author of many songs, and even a co-director.
– I remember the day of the premiere, Lyudmila Markovna came in a bad condition, – told the actress Natalya Smirnova. – She was in such prostration. It turns out that on that day, when she learned about the death of her beloved grandson Mark, she drank too many sedative pills. We offered her to cancel the performance, but she did not agree – the tickets are sold out, the auditorium is full. And she played! Backstage, we literally held her in our arms, but she went on stage and played brilliantly! For the next performances, she brought us some dishes that she cooked at home herself. She fed us and supported us in every possible way. She lived our performance.
– Once we were sitting at her house, suddenly some people come in and begin to take away her furniture from Karelian birch, – recalls a friend of the actress Valery Tugolukov. – Everyone knows that Lyudmila Markovna loved antiques. And here it is! It turns out that she sold this furniture to pay for this musical. So many people were involved there – some sixty musicians, and also artists, technical staff! And she invested her money in her last film, “Colorful Twilight.” Goskino did not allocate funds. When I asked: “Don’t you have rich friends who could provide these millions?!” To which she replied: “Why should someone give me something?! No need!”
Mikhalkov played an old woman
Gurchenko did not hide that she was struggling with age with the help of plastic surgery. She didn’t want to look old. Even in the store or for a walk with the dog, she always went out in makeup. When asked about her age, she often answered: “I am 29 years old and many, many months.” Surprisingly, she never went on diets, at night she could eat her favorite dumplings with potatoes and did not get better. The waist size of Lenochka Krylova from Carnival Night remained the same for Gurchenko all his life. Few people know, but she still once played the old woman – in Nikita Mikhalkov’s film Oblomov. If you remember the episode where the old woman in the cap falls asleep at the window. It happened by accident. The fact is that at that time the film crew of this film had a downtime of three months, they were waiting for winter nature. So that the members of the team would not run away, Mikhalkov decided to shoot the film Five Evenings, which had not yet been approved by the authorities, during this period. They called Gurchenko. But, in order to pay for her travel and accommodation, they recorded her as an actress in the film Oblomov. I had to shoot a second episode with her in order to financially justify the actress’s stay on the set.
In 1995, she performed in Riga at the creative evenings of Raimonds Pauls. She became ill. She thought that she drank a lot of sleeping pills, without which she could not sleep. But every day she got worse. They took me to the hospital. Diagnosis – suspicion of blood cancer, leukemia. I was sent by plane to Moscow, they did a blood transfusion. Then Gurchenko laughed: “Imagine, I saw a sign on my bed “Tests passed. Nurse – Pugacheva. Thirty shots worth $1,000 each. She paid for Gurchenko herself, she did not ask anyone. Then the oncology was not confirmed. Lyudmila Markovna passed away on March 30, 20011 from heart failure at the age of 75.