|Tamara Toumanova, via|
Tamara Toumanova was a prominent American ballerina and actress. While scholars do not agree about the indentity of her biological father* (either Konstantin Zakharov or Vladimir Khassidovitch), we know Tamara's mother was Georgian Princess Euginia Tumanishvili (she gave Tamara her last name) who had to flee Georgia after the Russian Revolution. Tamara was born on a train March 2, 1919 while her mother was trying to get to China through Siberia. From China the mother and the baby moved to Cairo, Egypt and later to Paris, France. They moved to the U.S. in 1937.
George Balanchine saw young Tamara in ballet class and engaged her for de Basil’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as one of the three “baby ballerinas”. Balanchine created the role of the “Young Girl” for Toumanova in his ballet Cotillon and had her star in his Concurrence and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. She came to be called “The Black Pearl of the Russian Ballet”, because, as A. V. Coton wrote, “she was the loveliest creature in the history of the ballet”, with black silky hair, deep brown eyes and pale almond skin.
In the U.S. Tamara appeared in the following movies:
Spanish Fiesta (as Gypsy Fortune Teller), 1942
Days of Glory (as Nina), 1944 (Starring with Gregory Peck, this is his debut film)
Tonight We Sing (as Anna Pavlova), 1953
Deep in My Heart (as Gaby Deslys), 1954
Invitation to the Dance (as The Girl on the Stairs in "Ring Around the Rosy"), 1956
Torn Curtain (as Ballerina), 1966 (Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (as Madame Petrova), 1970
Billy Wilder TV documentary (as herself), 1970
That's Dancing! documentary as herself (film clip), 1985
Tamara Toumanova died in 1996 in Santa Monica, California and was buried next to her mother at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
|Tamara Toumanova, via|
|Toumanova in her dressing room, via|
|Tamara Toumanova. La Esmeralda. via|
|Tamara Toumanova and Gregory Peck starring in Days of Glory, via|
Make sure you watch Toumanova and Gene Kelly's mesmerizing performance in this YouTube clip from Invitation to the Dance. I can watch this over and over without getting bored. And who said wearing pink and red together is a modern invention?!
Other sources for the related info: Tamara Toumanova (Tumanishvili) Facebook page
NYTimes article by Toni Bentley
NYTimes article by Jack Anderson
Toumanova on Mubi
*There is a research being done in Georgia to prove that Tamara's biological father was Konstanit Zakharov who died while fleeing Georgia. Vladimir Khassidovitch was Tamara's step-father and for legal purposes he claimed Tamara to be his daughter upon their arrival to the U.S.