Russian Personalities

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

Witty Faina Ranevskaya

Faina Ranevskaya

Witty Faina Ranevskaya

Philosopher with a cigarette, scandalous person, terribly lonely, vulnerable and sympathetic soul …
These words are about the great actress, incredibly talented woman, witty and unique Faina Ranevskaya.
“Ranevskaya” was her pseudonym which later became an official surname.
During her career Ranevskaya didn’t play any grandiose role, but nevertheless she was among ten best actresses of the twentieth century. She was loved by simple people and adored by the leaders.
Hard to believe, but Ranevskaya’s first contract role was “heroine kokett”. Critics compared her with a sparkling hummingbird. However, Ranevskaya had terrible complexes about her appearance. “Can you imagine Ophelia with such a nose?” – said the great actress.
Few people know that the famous Faina, who barely made ends meet and terribly was ashamed of debts, was the daughter of a millionaire. Her father, Hirsch Feldman, was one of the richest businessmen in Taganrog, owned a factory, a few buildings, a shop and a steamboat.

To tell the truth, her first film role Ranevskaya played only at the age of 38. Her work in the film Pyshka by Mikhail Romm was praised by many critics.
In the filmography of the great actress there are about thirty roles, but the main – can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But her episodic roles were so bright that sometimes overshadowed leading roles.
You know, Ranevskaya was a three-time winner of the Stalin Prize. Brezhnev, handing the Order of Lenin, quite frankly confessed his love for the actress. And U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, after watching Dreams, called her a brilliant tragic actress.
In the 60s her elder sister Isabella Ranevskaya, decided to return home and live with her famous sister. She could not imagine that she would have to live in two small rooms. It was expected, that the favorite of Stalin and Chaplin owned at least half of the high-rise building in which he lived!
Once Ranevskaya said that when in the 30s she was given a passport they did not require any supporting documents, and she had changed her birth year from 1895 to 1897. All her life Faina was upset that she became only two years “younger” not a dozen.
Once in the street Ranevskaya found a homeless dog with its paws frozen in the ice. Doctors were able to save the dog. So unusually faithful creature with a nasty character, who shared loneliness of the great actress, appeared in her life.
The great actress didn’t leave any memoirs. She tried to write but finally said, “I do not want to publish my hard life. The fact that the actor wants to talk about himself, he should play instead of writing his memoirs”.
The actress died in July 1984 in Moscow. She was one of the greatest Russian actresses of the XX century.
A few months before her death, Ranevskaya wrote with bitter sarcasm: “When I die, bury me and write on the monument: She died of disgust.”

Ranevskaya’s quotes (my favourite)


Outstanding Ranevskaya

– Success is the only unforgivable sin against your neighbor.
– It is a shame to confess but among all living creatures only man doesn’t know what is useful for him.
– Optimism is lack of information.
– Solitude is a house that has a telephone, but the only ringing comes from the alarm-clock.
– I’ve been smart enough to have lived my life stupidly.
– A real man is one who remembers the lady’s birthday, but never knows how old she is. A man who never remembers her birthday, but knows exactly how old she is, – is her husband.
– Family can replace everything. So, before starting a family, one should think what’s more important: family or everything.
– Beauty is a horrible power.
– If a patient wants to live, doctors are impotent.
– A fairytale is when you marry a frog and it turns out to be a princess. Reality is vice versa.
– I never could understand it: people are ashamed of poverty, but not ashamed of riche.
– Women are, of course, more intelligent. Have you ever heard of a woman that would lose her head only because a man has pretty legs?
– You cannot cure sclerosis, but you can forget it.

Witty Faina Ranevskaya