August 3, 1920
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||April 20, 2001
New York, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||George S. Irving (1948-2001; her death); 2 children|
She was born Maria Dovgolenko in Hartford, Connecticut to Russian parents, Filipp (later Phillip) and Stephanida (née Karnilovich) Dovgolenko; the family later moved to Brooklyn. She adopted a variation of her mother's maiden name as her professional name and made her Broadway debut in 1946 in Call Me Mister. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the original 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof starring Zero Mostel and was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical for Zorba (1968).
Other Broadway credits include Miss Liberty (1949), Two's Company (1952), Jerome Robbins' Ballet: U.S.A. (1958), Gypsy (as the original "Tessie Tura"; 1959), Bravo Giovanni (1962), Gigi (1973), God's Favorite (1974), Bring Back Birdie (1981), and the 1981 revival of Fiddler. Her film credits include The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) and Married to the Mob (1988).
She was married to actor George S. Irving from 1948 until her death from undisclosed causes in Manhattan at the age of 80 in 2001. She was survived by her husband, two children and three grandchildren.
- Maria Karnilova at the Internet Broadway Database
- Maria Karnilova at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Maria Karnilova at the Internet Movie Database