The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

The outstanding Soviet ballerina Tamara Tumanova was a man of peace. Even the place of her birth is interpreted differently in different biographies. The fact is that she was born in a freight car of a train traveling in March 1919 from Tiflis (now Tbilisi) to Tyumen. Although some sources indicate that the future icon of the ballet was born near Shanghai. 

However, it is not so important where Tamara was born: after 20 years, the entire civilized world already knew about her. The best theaters applauded the art of this extraordinary beauty, which mixed Georgian, Russian, Armenian and Polish blood. It was called the Black Pearl of the Russian Ballet. And after leaving the stage, Tamara made a successful acting career.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

Tamara's real last name is Hasidovich. Her mother, according to family legend, came from an ancient Georgian princely family. In 1919, she, the wife of a white officer, had to leave her native Tiflis when Soviet power was established there. In search of her husband, she went to Tyumen, and on the way, a daughter was born. After reuniting, the family moved first to China, then to Egypt, and finally to France. It turns out that Tamara was in exile even before she knew what the motherland was.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

In Paris, Tamara entered a ballet school and has been performing on stage since the age of nine. At thirteen, she was accepted into the Russian Ballet company, which included two other famous dancers — Irina Baronova and Tatiana Ryabushinskaya. Their trio of "baby ballerinas" literally stunned the theater stage. 

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

The Europeans pronounced her father's surname with great problems, so Tamara chose the sonorous pseudonym Tumanova. In a way, even a speaker: she was a very impenetrable woman.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

By the age of 20, Tamara had already been applauded by the Paris Grand Opera, La Scala in Milan, and Covent Garden in London. It's time to conquer the New World. Because of her exotic appearance, dark eyes and hair, and, of course, for the extraordinary talent of Tumanova, the Western media dubbed the Black Pearl of Russian ballet. Another nickname-the Tragic Artist-appeared as a tribute to the beautiful artistry. Spiteful critics even accused the ballerina of playing too much in public.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

The dancer Yuri Zorich said: "Tamara has always been the pride of the ballet! She has a fantastic technique; we used to joke: when she makes an arabesque, you can go out for lunch, come back, and she will still be standing in the arabesque." 

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

After leaving the stage, Tamara found herself as an actress. Her first film work was the role of a gypsy fortune teller who performed Spanish dances. And the first full-fledged dramatic role she got in the film "Glory Days". In 1966, Alfred Hitchcock himself invited Tumanova to his painting "The Torn Curtain". They say the famous director was crazy about the eyes of the former dancer.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

Tamara was married, but only for ten years. In 44, she married the American writer, producer and director Casey Robinson, who left his family for her. Ten years later, he returned to his first wife.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

Tumanova, who kept her extraordinary charm until her last days, passed away at the age of 77 in Santa Monica, California. Shortly before her death, she donated her stage costumes to the Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg. In the history of European and American ballet, she is given the role of a star of the first magnitude, and we remember only occasionally.

The black pearl of the Russian ballet that charmed Hitchcock and all of Hollywood

Keywords: USA | History | Celebrities | Actress | Ballet | Beauty | USSR | Cinema | Emigration | Ballerinas

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