Nonna Mordyukova

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Nonna Mordyukova
Born Noyabrina Mordyukova
(1925-11-25)November 25, 1925
Kostiantynivka, Donetsk Oblast, Soviet Union
Died July 6, 2008(2008-07-06) (aged 82)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation Actress
Years active 1948–1999
Spouse(s) Vyacheslav Tikhonov (divorced)

Noyabrina "Nonna" Viktorovna Mordyukova (Russian: Но́нна (Ноябри́на) Ви́кторовна Мордюко́ва; November 25, 1925 – July 6, 2008) was a Soviet actress and People's Artist of the USSR (1974). She was the star of films like director Denis Yevstigneyev's Mama and Nikita Mikhalkov's 1980s hit Family Relations[1] She co-starred with the best actors of the Soviet era, among them Vasily Shukshin, Yuri Nikulin, Valentin Zubkov, Mikhail Ulyanov, Vyacheslav Tikhonov and others. The editorial board of the British “Who Is Who” encyclopedia has included Nona Mordyukova among the top 20 actresses of the 20 th century. [2]


Nonna (Noyabrina) Viktorovna was born into a large family in the Cossack village of Kostiantynivka, Donetsk Region, Ukrainian SSR. Nonna spent her childhood in a settlement where her mother worked as chairwoman of kolkhoz (collective farm). In 1946 Nonna Mordyukova entered the Actors’ Faculty of VGIK and studied there under Boris Bibikov and Olga Pyzhova. After graduating she played on stage of Theatre Studio of Film Actor and was often featured by film directors. In 1948, Nonna Mordyukova was married to actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov and had a son from him (who died).[3] The two were divorced in 1963.[3]


In 1949, she was awarded the Stalin Prize for the role of Ulyana Gromova in The Young Guard movie. It was her debut film role.

Her impressive filmography reveals, however, that while she has had the chance to work with a constellation of the best Soviet directors, it has usually been for one project only. There is no high profile director with whom she has a continuous working relationship. After her work for Sergei Gerassimov on The Young Guard, she was cast in the last movie of veteran Vsevolod Pudovkin The Return of Vasili Bortnikov (1952). Other one-time collaborations with well-known directors have been with Mikhail Shvejtser for Chuzhaya rodnya (1955), Lev Kulidzhanov for Otchij dom (1959), with Leonid Gaidai for The Diamond Arm, with Andrei Konchalovsky for the Turgenev adaptation Dvoryanskoye gnyezdo (1969), with Grigori Chukhrai for Tryasina (1978), with Eldar Ryazanov for Railway Station for Two, and with Nikolai Gubenko for Zapretnaya zona (1988). She only played once in a film by Nikita Mikhalkov, who structured his village comedy-drama Kinfolk (1981) entirely around the personality of the actress, who had by that time established herself as an epitome of the Russian peasant woman.

The role of Klavida Vavilova, a robust and boisterous Red Army Commissar who has accidentally become pregnant, in Aleksandr Askoldov's Commissar (1967) is Mordyukova's most memorable work. The film, shot in 1966, was shelved and was only released in 1988. By that time Mordyukova was over sixty and had starred in over twenty other films. The wide critical acclaim and appreciation for what is probably her best performance came too late to have any definitive effect on her profile as an actor. She received FIPRESCI Award, Otto Dibelius Film Award, and Special Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, and Silver Spur Award (Flanders International Film Festival) for The Commissar.

During the period of perestroika, Mordyukova appeared in a number of supporting roles in a range of comedy-dramas. Similarly, she has been a highly visible presence throughout the 1990s, with supporting roles in some of the most-popular Russian features, such as Pavel Lungin's Luna Park (1992) and Vladimir Menshov's Shirli-Myrli (1995). In 1999 she played the leading role in Mummy (1999), directed by Denis Yevstigneyev; a family saga loosely based on a real story, mixing action, melodrama and comedy elements and spanning several decades.

Reportedly, "Russian cinema goers and critics call Mordyukova one of the best actresses of the 20th century."[4] In over fifty years of work in the cinema she has played in dozens of films, where she acted mainly as ordinary Russian women.[4]

In November 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a presidential decree awarding the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, third degree, to Mordyukova.[4]

The asteroid 4022 Nonna is named after Nonna Mordyukova.

Selected filmography

Year English Title Original Title
1948 The Young Guard Молодая гвардия
1952 The Return of Vasili Bortnikov Возвращение Василия Бортникова
1955 Other People's Relatives Чужая родня
1959 A Home for Tanya Отчий дом
1960 A Simple Story Простая история
1964 The Chairman Председатель
1965 Balzaminov's Marriage Женитьба Бальзаминова
1965 Thirty Three Тридцать три
1967 The Commissar Комиссар
1968 The Diamond Arm Бриллиантовая рука
1971 Russian Field Русское поле
1973 No Return Возврата нет
1975 They Fought for Their Country Они сражались за Родину
1978 Quagmire Трясина
1981 Family Relations Родня
1992 Luna Park Луна-парк
1995 What a mess! Ширли-мырли
1999 Mother Мама

Honours and awards

State awards
Public Awards
  • National Film Award "Nika" (2004) in the "honour and dignity" [10]
  • Premium business circles of Russia, "Idol" (1999) in the nomination "For high service to art"
  • Award "Kinotavr" (1996) in the "President's Council Award for creative careers" [11]
  • Award "Golden Aries" (1995) in the "Man of cinematic year"
  • Recognised as one of the 10 most prominent actresses of the 20th century (1992) - according to the Editorial Board of the British reference book "Who's who"


  1. Yulia Savelyeva's Naked City. Yulia Savelyeva. The Moscow Times. No. 1812. October 9, 1999.
  2. Nonna Mordyukova among "Who Is Who"'s top 20 actresses
  3. 3.0 3.1 NONNA MORDYUKOVA; Star of 'The Commissar', cause celèbre of glasnost cinema. John Riley. The Independent (London). OBITUARIES; Pg. 44. July 12, 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Vladimir Putin Awards Famed Russian Actress Nonna Mordyukova Order for Service To Fatherland. RIA Novosti November 25, 2000.
  5. Указ Президента Российской Федерации В. Путина от 25 ноября 2005 года № 1368 «О награждении орденом "За заслуги перед Отечеством" II степени Мордюковой Н. В.». //
  6. Указ Президента Российской Федерации В. Путина от 23 ноября 2000 года № 1924 «О награждении орденом "За заслуги перед Отечеством" III степени Мордюковой Н. В.». //
  7. Указ Президента Российской Федерации Б. Ельцина от 27 ноября 1995 года № 1185 «О награждении государственными наградами Российской Федерации». //
  8. Нонна Мордюкова. Биографическая справка
  9. Имена. Нонна Мордюкова. Сайт «Энциклопедия отечественного кино»
  10. Королева Нонна. Героиней главного киновечера года была Мордюкова
  11. Открытый российский кинофестиваль «Кинотавр». Призёры 1991—2005 годов. //

External links