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Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Category Archive: Russian roots

Famous French writers of Russian origin

Famous French writers

Famous French writers of Russian origin

On October 19, 1999 Nathalie Sarraute, a prominent French writer, passed away. She was born Natalya Chernyak on July 18, 1900 in Ivanovo, Russia.
Her novel The Golden Fruit is considered to be a cult novel of the modern literature. French critics called it “literary constant of the century”.
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Leonardo DiCaprio and his blondes

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio and his blondes


Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles (USA) on November 11, 1974. He has Russian roots. His maternal grandmother Yelena Smirnova was born in Russia. The boy was named after the great Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. While pregnant, his mother went to an art gallery and was looking at the da Vinci painting when the baby first kicked. His parents divorced when he was a year old and he lived mostly with his mother.
At the age of two and a half the boy first appeared on TV in the popular children’s show.
As a teenager, the future film actor began attending theater courses and studios. Then he studied at one of the universities in Los Angeles.
In childhood and adolescence, Leonardo starred in three dozen commercials. Also he appeared in the cult series Santa Barbara. Then there were TV series Rosanna and New Adventures of Lassie.
The real debut of DiCaprio was in the comic horror film Critters 3 in 1991. Soon he appeared in the film This Boy’s Life, in which he played along with great actor Robert De Niro.
Johnny Depp and Leonardo played together in the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993. For his role DiCaprio was first nominated for Oscar. At that time, the actor was 19 years old.
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Natasha Verushka – Sword Swallower

Natasha Verushka - Sword Swallower

Natasha Verushka – Sword Swallower


Natasha Verushka is a gorgeous woman. She is a Belly dancer and the world’s only female sword swallower. By the way, she is two time Guinness world record holder and five time SSAI (sword swallowers association international) World Record holder.
Awesome girl was born in India, but she is of Russian and British descent.
She speaks several languages and performs her art around the world. Now she lives in New York City.
In her shows Natasha uses different types of swords: The Red devil 29 inches long, The Big Sword 27 1/2 inches long, The Bradshaw Sword 25 inches long, The Sai Weapons, Neon Sword, The Balance Sword 33 inches, The Shiv 24 inches, The Meyer Sword (20 inches) and many others!
To tell the truth, the most dangerous sword, she swallowed, is the Neon Sword. It is 24 inches of glass and poison gas!
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Victoria Tolstoy – Swedish jazz singer

Victoria Tolstoy

Viktoria by Joerg Grosse Geldermann. 2008


Victoria Tolstoy is a Swedish jazz singer. She is known under the pseudonym Lady Jazz. By the way, she is one of the most popular jazz performers in Scandinavia. During her career, she released 8 albums. In her works she repeatedly turns to classical Russian composers, such as Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Rachmaninov, and also Vysotsky.
Louise Victoria Tolstoy was born on July 29, 1974 in Sigtuna, Sweden. She is the daughter of musician Erik Kjellberg and great-great-granddaughter of the famous Russian writer Lev Tolstoy. Victoria’s father was a professor of music at the University of Uppsala.
When the future singer was 16 years old, her father played jazz on the piano. It was Lover Man by the great Billie Holiday. The girl realized that jazz was her destiny.
The singer debuted in 1994 with the album Smile, Love and Spice, which was recorded in co-authorship with her father. After that, Tolstoy quickly became popular in Sweden. In 1996, she recorded her second album Too Loved and received an invitation to cooperate with the American jazz studio Blue Note. By the way, Victoria became the first Swedish singer who worked with this famous company. But only one album with a spectacular name White Russian was realized (producer Esbjern Svensson).
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Anton Yelchin – Hollywood star from Russia

Anton Yelchin

Anton Yelchin – Hollywood star from Russia

Anton Yelchin is an American actor of Russian origin. You know, Yelchin became the brightest young actor in 2005 according to the Hollywood Life magazine. Also Anton was one of People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in 2009.
According to legend, Anthony Hopkins, Anton’s partner in the television series Huff, presented him with a book on acting by Stanislavsky with the caption “Reading it is no longer necessary for you!”
The boy was born on March 11, 1989 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia) into the family of figure skaters. His grandfather Arkady Yelchin was a football player and a coach.
On September 12, 1989, when the boy was six months old, the family emigrated to the United States. His uncle, illustrator Yevgeny Yelchin, lived there for several years. Later his father began to work as a figure skating coach (he was the first coach of Sasha Cohen), and his mother became a choreographer of ice shows.
In his early childhood Anton decided to become an actor and at the age of 10 he began acting. The boy made his debut in the role of Robbie Edelstein in the medical drama ER. You know, the boy dreamed of playing Harry Potter. But only native Englishman could play the role.
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Helen Mirren, successful actress

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren, successful actress

Helen Mirren is a famous British and Hollywood actress. By the way, she is the only actress ever to play the roles of three Queens of England, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Charlotte. You know, she has won an Academy Award, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.
Moreover, Helen was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 2003. And in January 2013 the actress was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Besides, her wax figure is at Madame Tussauds London.
Elena Mironova (her birth name) was born on July 26, 1945 in a suburb of London. Her father Vasily Mironov was Russian and her mother Kitty was English. In the 1950s the father changed his family name to Mirren. Elena was the second of three children.
Parents wanted the girl to become a teacher. But Helen was fond of theater. She studied at the theatre school and at the age of 18 Helen joined the National Youth Theater.
At first the young actress played only small roles in the theater. But soon the girl played the role of Cleopatra on the stage of the Old Vic. Awesome girl was noticed by agents and invited to the Royal Shakespeare Theater. There she played main roles in the plays The Avengers Tragedy, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet and Two Veronets.
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Alexander Liberman, Russian tsar of New York

Alexander Liberman

Alexander Liberman, Russian tsar of New York (photo: November 8, 1965)

Creativity without waste is impossible — Alexander Liberman

Alexander Liberman was a prominent representative of the American intelligentsia, Russian emigre, who changed the pop culture of the twentieth century. You know, he was the king and god of the publishing house Conde Nast. By the way, Alexander was an editor, a publisher, a painter, a photographer, and a sculptor.
The boy was born on September 4, 1912. Nine years later his family fled from Moscow.
Young Liberman was educated in Russia, England, and France. He studied mathematics and philosophy at Sorbonne in Paris and architecture at the School of Fine Arts in London.
In Paris Alexander fell in love with Tatiana Yacovleff du Plessix, who was six years older. Their love affair began when the Viscount du Plessis was alive. In 1940 Viscount was killed by Nazis.
Alexander, Tatiana and her daughter Francine fled first to the south of France, and then to New York, the city where Lieberman was destined to become a ruthless and ironic shark of bohemian world.
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