Irina Metlitskaya

Irina Metlitskaya

Date of Birth: 05.10.1961
Country: Russia

  1. Actress
  2. Biography


Her beauty was not provocative, rather mysterious and unearthly, her talent amazed with its originality, depth of emotions, and subtlety of self-expression. Her colleagues adored her, directors were a little afraid of her, men idolized her, and only one of them had the happiness to dissolve in her love. She loved life selflessly, and it rewarded her with truly priceless gifts. But mistakes happen even in the heavenly office - once Death pulled out a card with her name, the name of Irina Metlitskaya. Not much was written about her. Perhaps her life, filled with family happiness, feminine loyalty, and balanced behavior, was not interesting to the press hungry for sensations and scandals.


Irina grew up as a determined and calm child. In a family deprived of feminine happiness, she understood that the future is born in childhood, and therefore eagerly and conscientiously mastered the school curriculum. She was discouraged from pursuing a brilliant career in physics and mathematics, but in her final year, life gave her the first gift - one day director Igor Dobrolyubov entered her class and, seeing the tall schoolgirl with sad eyes, invited her to the filming of the movie "Schedule for the Day After Tomorrow". This small role turned Irina's life upside down, and even though she playfully entered the physical faculty of the Minsk University, she did not give up her dream of becoming an actress. Therefore, a year later, she left for Moscow, naive but determined. Irina entered the Shchukin Theatre School immediately - life continued to shower her with generous gifts, admiring her own creation, so beautiful and talented!.. And "creation," not relying solely on natural merits, worked tirelessly. For excellent studies, Ira received an increased scholarship, and already in her fourth year, she was accepted into the troupe of the fashionable theater "Sovremennik". No one knew yet what "life schedule" was predetermined by Metlitskaya's destiny, but everyone understood that this talented young actress had to become a star. Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov, seeing Ira in a small role, was charmed: "She appeared on stage and left, and I had the impression that I swallowed a sun atom." Everyone who saw Ira on stage felt the same way. Nine years were dedicated to this theater when an invitation came from the director whom many dream of working with. Roman Viktyuk invited Metlitskaya to play Nabokov's Lolita! Being already an adult woman with two children, she managed to play a young girl - fragile, vulnerable, and at the same time horribly annoying, a girl-death. She portrayed a doll as the director wanted, but at the same time, she made the audience feel that her character was not a doll. "I saw the birth of a star," recalls Sergei Makovetsky, who played with Irina in the play "Madama Butterfly." "It happened behind my back because my character was always looking at the audience. With my peripheral vision or some nervous endings, I felt her appearance on stage. At that moment, everyone fell in love with her - both men and women - it was the rise of a star. And then she did the unthinkable: hanging on the bar upside down, letting her gorgeous hair fall to the floor, she delivered a long shocking monologue with a kind of hooligan ease and audacity. It seemed that everything came easily to her, without effort." Irina is also remembered in the "Sovremennik" theater. "She matured as an actress very early," shares Lia Akhedzhakova. "Everyone loved her in the theater. She was light, brilliant, beautiful, and always smiling. I never saw her as gloomy, depressed, or gloomy. With her, you forgot that life is difficult, and you wanted to say, "Life is beautiful!" I saw how her romance with Sergei began, it all happened in the theater corridors, on the stairs. And from the way two black eyes of Sergei shone and how Ira lit up, it was clear that this was not just a romance. It was a remarkably beautiful union!" Sergei is the husband of the actress, actor and director Sergei Gazarov. They met Irina when she had just come to the theater, and they lived together for fourteen years, giving birth to two wonderful sons. "The first day I saw Ira, it was very memorable," recalls Sergei Gazarov. "The "Sovremennik" theater went on tour to Minsk, and on the train, I was informed that my partner would be a young, pretty actress from "Shchuka." I thought, "Well, let it be if she is pretty." We arrived in Minsk, settled in a hotel. I was standing on the balcony and saw a girl walking down the street. I immediately knew it was her and stared so much that I almost fell from the balcony. And then we started rehearsing together, and it turned out that Irina is a very dear person to me. At first, I didn't understand how to react to her. There are many beautiful women, but she was not just a "beautiful woman," she had a mystery, something that every man dreams of, a mystery that cannot be solved, but one really wants to, and therefore the desire to be with her only increases over time. I even asked her: "I'm probably not the first person who was amazed by you, tell me, what is your secret?" She replied: "Don't dig into it, if you know me completely, all the charm will disappear." We lived fourteen years in a state of absolute happiness, and Ira remained a mystery to me."

When this union was just beginning, Irina lived in a small room in a communal apartment on Bolshoi Vlasievsky Lane. And, as it is known, neighbors rarely welcome late-night visits from outsiders. So Sergei had to visit Irina through the window. Once vigilant law enforcement officers caught the ardent lover and took him to the police station. But after learning the whole truth, they themselves sat him by the coveted window. The whole theater and film Moscow spoke about their marriage, this marriage was beautiful! And harmonious, despite the apparent significant differences between them. And it continued as it should have: first, Nikita was born, and two years later, Peter. "It was amazing, no one even knew that Ira was pregnant," recalls Sergei. "In July, we finished the season at the theater, went on vacation, and came back in September already with a child. And the second one appeared in the same way, during the vacation. Colleagues jokingly asked - in which supermarket do we buy the little ones?" "She knew how to do everything easily," shared Lia Akhedzhakova, "she gave birth easily, nursed easily, and managed to devote herself to her family and run to rehearsals. She had a light breath..." "I realized she was an unusual woman the moment I saw her on the film set," recalls actor Andrei Sokolov, who starred with Metlitskaya in two films. "She seemed cold and restrained, but what passion, what deep understanding of life and something more, sent from above, shone in her eyes! I think, Bulgakov's Margarita was exactly like that: It was amazing to admire Irina, to be amazed, it was pleasant to communicate with her, but there was never a desire to possess her. And not because her husband was there - Sergey always accompanied her on the set. It seemed to me that such familiarity could offend her - what everyone could see with the naked eye was the unearthly love between Ira and Sergey."

Men pursued Irina, but she treated it with polite coldness. She loved only her Sergey - and this was another gift of fate: the ability to love selflessly is a rare talent. And he was terribly jealous of her, jealous of her stage partners, jealous of random passers-by who threw admiring glances at her, jealous and found her anywhere in the world. Sometimes, when Irina went on location, she herself did not know in which hotel she would stay, but as soon as she crossed the threshold of her room, the telephone rang - Sergey called. People envied her, envied her feminine happiness, her luck, her beauty, her ability to always look elegant, and her husband was almost branded as a mafioso. "We did not live luxuriously," objected Sergei, "in our youth, we had to save on everything, and most of Irina's magnificent outfits were sewn and knitted by her own hands, she even made the suit for our wedding herself. She had golden hands, it is hard to imagine what she couldn't do. I was amazed at where she got so much strength and energy." But there was not much strength left. When the young, beautiful, brilliant Metlitskaya appeared on stage as the host of the Moscow Film Festival in 1995, no one even thought that she had already received the terrible diagnosis of "acute leukemia" (blood cancer). Until the very last moment, only the closest ones knew that Ira was fatally ill - her sudden death surprised many. "We acted together in the film "Black Veil"," recalls Sergei Makovetsky, "Irina was cheerful, without a trace of fatigue, she did retakes with ease. Only later did I understand why she took such care with her makeup so that no one would think she wasn't well." She didn't want to worry others with her illness, tried to remain in memory as joyful and cheerful. She succeeded, and that's why the words of her mother at the funeral were all the more bitter: "If you knew how difficult my daughter died..."

"Once," Gazarov remembered, "when Ira didn't yet know she was sick, she looked at me very attentively and said, 'You know, you will bury me, won't you?' I was taken aback and tried to turn it into a joke, but Ira conveyed her thought with a glance - she knew how to speak with her eyes. I saw in her eyes at that moment a stoppage of life, as if someone from above whispered her future to her. I keep asking myself the question, 'Did I do everything for her?' And my answers are terrible. I made decisions regarding her treatment alone, I received information from doctors, both domestic and foreign, from traditional and any other possible ones. Maybe she could have been cured, but at that time I didn't know how; even now, I don't know. For me, the day of her death became a turning point in my life. I am often asked how I coped with it. I didn't cope: it cannot be coped with; this grief lives in me, changes its form, manifestation, but continues to live. Time does not heal, it did not become easier for me; it became worse. But I am trying to fight it for the sake of our sons. They should not start their lives with a negative charge - they have a great life ahead."

Even the great ones make mistakes; apparently, on that day, the Lord God was in a bad mood, otherwise, why would He give Death this woman? Irina Metlitskaya died on June 5, 1997, exactly four months before her 36th birthday. This day was remembered for heavy rain - nature seemed to realize its irreparable mistake, now sobbing with streams of rain, then quietly sobbing with distant thunder, helplessly drizzling with monotonous, desolate rain. And on the morning of June 6, the sun was shining, a new life was beginning, where two little sons, a loving husband, and dozens of unplayed roles remained. She came to the cinema at the wrong time but managed to resist vulgarity and mediocrity. She was supposed to play the heroines of Bunin, Turgenev, Chekhov, Tolstoy... She could have become Anna Karenina, but she didn't: she simply didn't have enough time. Sensitive and transparent, she would have played any subtlest movements of the female soul. But it didn't happen... And now it will never happen.

Someone said about her: "A departing nature..." She left, leaving those who knew and loved her with a sense of unfair loss... and the feeling that they did not fully understand her in her lifetime. Perhaps that is why everyone tries to rewrite her story in their own way? So, what was she really like?...