• 11 May 1940
  •  Poltava, Ukrainian SSR, USSR [now Ukraine]

Zhanna Prokhorenko


Zhanna Prokhorenko was born on 11 May, 1940, in Poltava, Ukraine, Soviet Union (now Poltava, Ukraine). Her father, Trofim Prokhorenko, an Air Force officer, was killed in WWII, when she was a one-year-old baby. She was brought up by single mother and went to school in Leningrad. Young Zhanna Prokhorenko studied acting at the acting studio of Leningrad Palace of Pioneers. There she was scouted by Moscow Art Theatre and moved to Moscow. At age nineteen, she was cast by director Grigoriy Chukhray in Ballad of a Soldier (1959) opposite Vladimir Ivashov. The movie won Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, and Zhanna Prokhorenko shot to international fame. In 1960, she toured the USA presenting the film to American audiences. At that time, Moscow Art Theatre had a strict policy against stage actors who switch to movies, so Zhanna Prokhorenko was fired. She took the acting class of Sergey Gerasimov at Soviet State Institute of Cinema (VGIK), graduating in 1964 as film actress. Zhanna Prokhorenko was married twice. Her first husband was director Evgeniy Vasilev and the couple had one daughter, Yekaterina Vasilyeva, and granddaughter, Maryana Spivak. Her second husband, writer Artur Makarov, was killed by burglars in her lavish Moscow apartment in 1995, while Zhanna Prokhorenko was away. The murderer was never found. Zhanna Prokhorenko suffered from depression and went into seclusion in a small village away from Moscow. She died of a chronic illness, on 1 August, 2011, in a Moscow hospital, and was laid to rest in Khovanskoe Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.


Movie Name Release Date
Η μπαλάντα ενός στρατιώτη – Ballada o soldate (1959) December 26, 1960