Actress Who Played Ideal Soviet Woman Dead at 82

For MTMordyukova
Nonna Mordyukova, a celebrated Russian actress, has died in Moscow at the age of 82, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday.

Mordyukova was hospitalized Friday and died Sunday at the Central Clinical Hospital, Gazeta.ru reported. She had suffered from diabetes and dementia.

"She truly was a people's actress," President Dmitry Medvedev said in a Kremlin statement. "Her films are close and dear to generations of Russians."

Throughout a career that spanned half a century, Mordyukova appeared in dozens of films, including several examples of Soviet propaganda. Her characters often faced a tough choice between devotion to Communist dogma and the quiet happiness of family life.

"She is a true people's heroine,'' Nikita Mikhalkov, film director and president of the Russian Cinematographers' Union, said Monday in remarks broadcast on state television.

Mordyukova was born on Nov. 25, 1925, in the Donetsk region of what is now independent Ukraine, and grew up on a collective farm.

She first found fame at age 23 in "Young Guards," a 1948 epic about a group of young Communists that fought against Nazi Germans during World War II. She continued with versatile and critically acclaimed performances in adaptations of Russian classics, comedies and family dramas.

Her lead in Alexander Askoldov's "Commissar," where Mordyukova plays a pregnant Red Army officer who shows a more vulnerable side when she is forced to give birth between Civil War battles, wasn't allowed to be shown in the Soviet Union until 1987, 20 years after it was filmed.

Since the 1990s, Mordyukova had lived a reclusive life in a Moscow apartment that was given to her by the government after she complained about her dire financial situation. Her marriage to popular actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov ended in a divorce in 1963, and her only son, Vladimir, died of drug abuse.

Modryukova is to be buried Wednesday at the Kuntsevskoye Cemetery in western Moscow, Gazeta.ru reported.