Marina Vlady


She had the makings of a blonde bombshell and could have ended up in film history annals as merely a second-rate Brigitte Bardot, but sex symbol Marina Vlady proved she was capable of much more. In her prime she was nominated for a Golden Globe and won a "Best Actress" award at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival for her stunning performance in The Conjugal Bed (1963) [The Conjugal Bed] with Italy's Ugo Tognazzi. This provocative sex-kitten was born Marina De Poliakoff-Baïdaroff,in Clichy, France on May 10, 1938, the youngest of four acting sisters. Her Russian-born father was a well-established painter in France. While young Marina trained in dance and initially seemed to entertain thoughts of becoming a prima ballerina. But, like her sisters, she discovered a closer kinship to acting. The most outgoing of her siblings, Monica caught the eye of talent agents via more uninhibited roles. Older sister Odile Versois, who possessed a similar feline beauty, was the first of her family to enter pictures. Marina (playing a youthful roller-skater) and another sister Olga made their minor film debuts in Orage d'été (1949) [Summer Storm], which featured Odile. In 1955, at the ripe young age of 17, Marina met and married director/writer/actor Robert Hossein, who featured her prominently and seductively in a number of his films including The Wicked Go to Hell (1955) [The Wicked Go to Hell], as a femme fatale bent on revenge, Pardonnez nos offenses (1956), Double Agents (1959) [Double Agents] and, notably, Night Is Not for Sleep (1958) [Nude in a White Car], which co-starred sister Odile. She had two sons by Hossein but the marriage lasted only a few years. Gracing both French and Italian productions throughout most of her career, Marina was not shy at playing unsympathetic, even caustic characters, and proved adept at both saucy comedy and edgy drama, appearing for such notable directors as Jean-Luc Godard and Christian-Jaque. Playing opposite some of Europe's finest leading men, she was a vision in loveliness alongside Marcello Mastroianni in Black Feathers (1952) [Black Feathers], a touching WWII drama, she also co-starred with Italy's top character actor Aldo Fabrizi in Too Young for Love (1953) [Too Young for Love]. One of her rare English-speaking appearances came with Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight (1965) [Chimes at Midnight]. Her later years included much TV. Married four times, Vlady was the widow of heralded Russian poet/songwriter/actor Vladimir Vysotskiy who allegedly died of heart failure in 1980 at the age 42 after years of alcohol and drug abuse. Her fourth husband passed away in 2003.