Vera Zorina

Vera Zorina

American actress, ballerina and choreographer
Date of Birth: 02.01.1917
Country: USA

Biography of Vera Zorina

Vera Zorina, an American actress, ballerina, and choreographer, was born on January 2, 1917, in Berlin, Germany. She began studying ballet at the age of 2 and was already performing by the age of 4. Zorina received her education at a girls' school in Berlin, but studied dance under the guidance of Olga Preobrajenska and Nikolai Legat. Her final teachers were Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky.

Vera Zorina

When the young prodigy turned 12, she was introduced to Max Reinhardt, who gave her a place in the ensemble of the Shakespearean comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1929 and the production of "The Tales of Hoffmann" in 1931. It was during this time that she adopted the stage name Vera Zorina, which she chose from a long list of names, wanting something Russian and exotic.

Vera Zorina

Zorina spent three years with the famous ballet company, performing in various venues from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, to the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center, New York. In 1937, she won the leading role in the production of "On Your Toes" and caught the attention of Hollywood mogul Samuel Goldwyn, who signed her to a film contract.

Vera Zorina

Her official film debut came in 1938 in the musical "The Goldwyn Follies," where she played Olga Samara. That same year, Zorina's public appearances increased tenfold when she married the renowned choreographer and director George Balanchine. She reprised her role as Vera Barnova in the film adaptation of "On Your Toes" in 1939, directed by Ray Enright, and went on to portray Countess Tanya Vronskaya in the crime comedy "Adventure in Diamonds" in 1940.

Vera Zorina

On Broadway, Zorina made a strong impression as a cast member of "I Married an Angel" and "Louisiana Purchase" before briefly returning to Hollywood to star in the film version of the latter musical alongside Bob Hope in 1941. She landed the role of Maria in the critically acclaimed melodrama "For Whom the Bell Tolls," which was supposed to mark the beginning of her dramatic acting career. However, her candidacy was suddenly replaced by Ingrid Bergman, who proved to be a more suitable fit for the role.

After the release of the comedy films "Follow the Boys" in 1944 with George Raft and "Lover Come Back" in 1946 with George Brent, Zorina's popularity declined. She married George Balanchine in December 1938, but their marriage ended in 1946. She then married Goddard Lieberson, the president of Columbia Records, and together they had two sons, Peter, who became a composer, and Jonathan, who earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University.

Lieberson passed away on May 29, 1977. In 1991, Zorina married Paul Wolfe, whom she later widowed. Vera Zorina died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, from a brain hemorrhage on April 9, 2003, at the age of 86.

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