Michurina-Samoilova, Vera Arkad’evna
Born May 5(17), 1866, in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 2, 1948, in Leningrad. Soviet Russian actress. People’s Artist of the USSR (1939).
Michurina-Samoilova was born into a well-known family of actors—the Samoilovs. She made her debut in 1886. Her acting career was connected with the Aleksandrinskii Theater (now the A. S. Pushkin Academic Theater of Drama in Leningrad). She was best known for her portrayals of cold, calculating, coquettish high society women. Michurina-Samoilova’s portrayals were marked by refined subtle irony, psychological truthfulness, and brilliant technique. Her best roles were Reneva in Ostrovskii and Solov’ev’s Sparkle Without Warmth, Natal’ia Petrovna in Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, Ranevskaia in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, and Lady Milford in Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe.
After the October Revolution of 1917, Michurina-Samoilova’s talents developed further. Sharpening her social satire and with brilliant realism, the actress stressed the moral insignificance of her heroines and the cruelty and heartlessness concealed beneath their veneer of respectability. Her outstanding roles of this period included Zvezdintseva in L. N. Tolstoy’s The Fruits of Enlightenment, Kseniia Mikhailovna and Lenchitskaia in Romashov’s Fiery Bridge and The Fighters, Khlestova in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit, Polina Bardina in Gorky’s Enemies, and Gurmyzhskaia in Ostrovskii’s The Forest.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, MichurinaSamoilova remained in Leningrad throughout the blockade, where she led an active public and creative life, participating in readings and in the plays of the Microphone Theater. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR in 1943, she was also awarded the Order of Lenin.