11 Today is the centenary of actress Maria Babanova (1900-1983). Enormously popular in her early years at Vsevolod Meyerhold’s theater, she shined as Maria Antonovna in Nikolai Gogol’s The Inspector General. Later, she distinguished herself as Juliet in a performance at the Mayakovsky Theater and in the role of Tanya in popular Soviet playwright Alexei Arbuzov’s play of the same name. But, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, theater-goers did not see much of Babanova: her fine acting talent was of no use in the mediocre plays of the period. Still, in 1954 she was awarded the prestigious title of “USSR People’s Actress.” This was largely in response to her work in radio dramas, interpreting the roles of classic foreign and Russian playwrights, and acting in radio programs for children.
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