Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko (born Gurchenkov) (Russian: Людмила Марковна Гурченко, informal – Lucia, 12 November 1935 – 30 March 2011), was a popular Soviet and Russian actress, singer and entertainer. People's Artist of the USSR (1983).
Lyudmila Gurchenko was born in Kharkiv, USSR (now Ukraine) in 1935 as Lyudmila Gurchenkov to Mark Gavrilovich Gurchenkov (1898–1973) and Yelena Aleksandrovna Simonova-Gurchenkov (1917–1999). Her father came from a Russian peasant family, while her mother was from Russian nobility - both from around Smolensk.
Before World War II they lived in a single room apartment on the ground floor at Mordvinovsky Lane No. 17 (now Gurchenko Lane #7). At that time, her parents worked at the Kharkiv Philharmonic Society. Mark Gurchenko was known to play the bayan (Russian accordion). Gurchenko spent a part of her childhood with her mom during the time of the German occupation of USSR in her native city, while her father joined the army and, together with his concert brigade, survived the war. After the withdrawal of the German Army from Kharkiv, Gurchenko auditioned for the local Beethoven Music School, where she performed the song About Vitya Cherevichkin with gestures, after which she was accepted as an acting student.
She moved to Moscow, enrolling in the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. At age 21, after starring in Eldar Ryazanov's 1956 directorial debut, the musical Carnival Night, Gurchenko overnight achieved fame as well as celebrity status. Throughout the next two years she toured the entire country with her Carnival Night-inspired musical numbers, attracting crowds of fans.
The Soviet cultural establishment, however, deemed her style too western and too out of line with Soviet standards. She was accused of receiving wages above State-set levels as compensation for her shows. She became the target of highly critical articles in several influential Soviet periodicals, including Tap Dance to the Left (Чечетка налево, Komsomolskaya Pravda, 1957, ) and Dositheos Morals (Досифеевские нравы, Ogoniok, 1958, , devoted to her financial wrongdoing and her alleged lack of patriotism. The year of 1958 saw the release of another musical with Ludmila, Girl with a Guitar, shot mostly before these articles were published. The musical was not recommended for wide distribution and was a box-office flop.
In the mid 1970s, Gurchenko starred in several films, which, although only moderately successful, helped showcase her dramatic talent. In 1979 she landed a role in director Andrei Konchalovsky's Siberiade and in 1982 in Station for Two, once again by Eldar Ryazanov, who by then had become one of the USSR's most popular and prolific directors. The role of forty-something waitress Vera in this touching film became her long-awaited comeback as a superstar of Soviet film. Subsequently, she starred in Vladimir Menshov's Love and Pigeons, among many other movies and TV shows. Her multifaceted talent was recognized on many occasions. She received the title of People's Artist of the USSR, the highest honour that could be bestowed to a musical artist, in 1983. She carried a leading role in The Burn (Ожог – 1988) with Director Gennady Glagoliev and Director of Photography Igor Chepusov.
Gurchenko wrote a book about her life during German occupation in Kharkiv and about her life in the beginning of her Acting Career.
In 2010, she was awarded an Order "For Merit to the Fatherland", 2nd Class (she received the 4th Class of the same Order in 2000 and the 3d Class in 2005), one of the highest civil decorations in post-Soviet Russia (with 3rd and 2nd Degree Orders having been awarded to very few extremely distinguished individuals, and the 1st Degree Order being nominally held by a serving President of Russia). At the age of 70, she still performed and attended galas.
Gurchenko was married six times, including a short-lived marriage to Joseph Kobzon in 1969. She had one daughter, Maria (born 1959) from her first marriage, and two grandchildren as well as one great-granddaughter.
On 14 February 2011, Gurchenko fell near her house and broke her hip. She was taken to the hospital and underwent an operation the following day. On 30 March her condition worsened – either due to the operation or a heart failure – and she died that evening. She was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery (Moscow) after a civil funeral a few days later.
- The Road of Truth (1956)
- Chelovek rodilsya (1956) as Nadya Smirnova (voice)
- Carnival Night (1956) as Lena Krylova
- A Girl with a Guitar (1958) as Tanya Fedosova
- Baltic Skies (1961) as Sonya Bystrova
- Roman and Francesca (1961) as Francesca
- The Man from Nowhere (1961) as Lena
- Sluttish (1961) as Khristina
- Jalgrattataltsutajad (1964) as Rita Laur
- Balzaminov's Marriage (1964) as Ustinka
- Workers' Settlement (1966) as Mariya, Leonid's wife
- The Bridge Is Built (1966) as Zhenya
- Blasted Hell (1967) as Greta
- No and Yes (1967) as Lyusya Korablyova
- White Explosion (1969) as Vera Arsenova
- My good Dad (1970) as Valentina Ivanova
- Experiment (1970)
- One of us (1971) as Klara Ovcharenko
- Road to Rübezahl (1971) as Shura Solovyova
- Shadow (1971) as Yulia Juli
- The Crown of the Russian Empire, or Once Again the Elusive Avengers (1971) as Agrafena Zavolzhskaya
- What Is to Be Done? (1971) as woman in black
- Karpukhin (1973) as Ovsyannikova
- Summer dreams (1973) as Galina Sakhno
- Dacha (1973) as Lera
- Open Book (1973) as Glafira Rybakova
- Old Walls (1973) as Anna Smirnova
- Vanyushin's Children (1974) as Klavdiya Shchyotkina
- The Straw Hat (1974) as Clara Bocardon
- Diary of a School Director (1975) as Nina Sergeyevna
- Step Forward (1976) as Valentina Stepanovna
- Prestuplenie (1976) as Lyuba
- Ma-ma (Мама, 1976) as Goat-Mom
- Sentimental Romance (1976) as Mariya Petruchenko
- Heavenly Swallows (Небесные ласточки, 1976) as Korina
- Family Melodrama (1976) as Valentina Barabanova
- Twenty Days Without War (1977) as Nina
- The Second Attempt of Viktor Krokhin (1977) as Lyuba
- Wrong Connection (1978) as Margarita Illarionovna Vyaznikova
- Go Away (1978)
- Getting to Know the Big, Wide World (1978) as stranger
- Five Evenings (1979) as Tamara Vasilyevna
- Siberiade (1979) as Taya Solomina in 1960s
- Particularly Important Task (1980) as Elvira Lunina
- An Ideal Husband (1981) as Mrs. Laura Cheveley
- Waiting for Love (Любимая женщина механика Гаврилова, 1981) as Rita
- Flights in Dreams and Reality (1983) as Larisa Yuryevna
- Station for Two (1983) as Vera Nikolayevna Nefedova
- Highway (1983) as Gvozdeva
- Shurochka (1983) as Raisa Peterson
- Recipe of Her Youth (1983)
- A Rogue's Saga (1984) as Ekaterina Ivanovna
- Love and Pigeons (1985) as Raisa Zakharovna
- Applause, Applause... (1985)
- Dreamers (1987) as Grafinyata
- Scorch (1988)
- A byl li Karotin (1990)
- Nelud, ili V rayu zapreshchena okhota (1990) as Zoya Sherstobitova - predsedatel gorispolkoma
- Our Dacha (1990)
- My Seawoman (1990) as Lyudmila Pashkova
- Imitator (1990) as singer
- Viva Gardes-Marines! (1991) as Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp
- Sekskazka (1991)
- Prosti nas, machekha-Rossiya (1991) as Natalya Fyodorovna Zimina
- Gardemarines-III (1992) as Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp
- Prokhindiada 2 (1994) as Yekaterina Ivanovna
- Old Hags (Старые клячи, 2000) as Liza
- Stealing Tarantino as Anna Vasilyevna
- Carnival Night 2 or 50 years later (2007)
- Pestrye sumerki (2010) as Anna Dmitrievna (final film role)
- (in Russian) At home Gurchenko painted her portrait (photo), SQ (29 August 2016)
- «Прощай, Примадонна!» Неопубликованное интервью Людмилы Гурченко
- Profile, kinopoisk.ru. Retrieved 6 March 2015. (in Russian)
- "Президент наградил Гурченко орденом "За заслуги перед Отечеством" II степени". Vesti.ru. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Ljudmila Gurtšenko viimane soov: Palun, ärge unustage mind! (in Estonian)
- Lyudmila Gurchenko at IMDb
- (in Russian) Official site of Lyudmila Gurchenko
- Lyudmila Gurchenko on YouTube
- (in Ukrainian) Article at Historic Pravda (Ukrainian Pravda) dedicated to Gurchenko
- (in Russian) Bolgsite of Andrei Okara (Moscow political analyst) at Ukrainian Pravda with collection of Gurchenko's performances (video)