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24 July 2012

Vera Tschechowa

Vera Tschechowa (1940) is a film and television actress and director of German-Russian descent. Her grandfather was Oscar-nominated actor Michael Chekhov who was the nephew of author Anton Chekhov. Her grandmother was legendary film star Olga Tschechowa. The elegant, green-eyed actress has appeared in over 50 films since 1957.

 Vera Tschechowa
German postcard by Ufa (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-234. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Joe Niczky / Ufa.

 Vera Tschechowa
German postcard by ISV, no. H - 13.

Dating with Elvis
Vera Tschechowa - also written as Vera Cecova and Vera Tschechova - was born as Vera Rust in Berlin, Germany in 1940. Her father was Dr. Wilhelm Rust, and her mother was actress and agent Ada Tschechowa. Young Vera was brought up in Germany by her Russian-German grandmother Olga Tschechowa. Her early childhood was affected by the Second World War. During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s she spent much time with her grandfather, Michael Chekhov in California, and she also traveled in the United States. She studied to become an artist and stage designer, then studied acting at the Munich Drama school. Eventually she followed the footsteps of her mother and grandmother and became an actress. Her film debut was as one of the daughters of Heinz Erhardt in the comedy Witwer mit funf Tochtern/Widower with 5 Daughters (1956, Erich Engels). It was followed by a co-starring role in the drama Noch minderjährig/Under 18 (1957, Georg Tressler) opposite Paula Wessely. Soon followed roles in the war drama Der Arzt von Stalingrad/The Doctor of Stalingrad (1958, Géza von Radványi) featuring O.E. Hasse, the romance Meine 99 Bräute/My 99 Brides (1958, Alfred Vohrer) with Claus Wilcke, and the Italian fantasy Ballerina e Buon Dio/Angel in a Taxi (1958, Antonio Leonviola) with Gabriele Ferzetti. In 1959, when Elvis Presley was stationed as a soldier in Europe he dated Vera a few times. That year she appeared in the comedy Und das am Montagmorgen/And That on Monday Morning (1959, Luigi Comencini) starring O.W. Fischer, and the Freddy Quinn musical Freddy unter fremden Sternen/Freddy under foreign stars (1959, Wolfgang Schleif). In 1959 she also made her stage debut at the Berlin Theater. Later she worked on stage at Deutsche Schauspielhaus Hamburg, and also at Dusseldorfer Schauspielhaus and at Theater Basel.

Vera Tschechowa
German postcard ny Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden/Westf., no. 917. Photo: Weidenbaum.

Vera Tschechowa, Peter Parak
German postcard by IRMA-Verlag, Stuttgart W., no. 1321. Photo: Wesely / Union / Hajek. Publicity still for Noch minderjährig/Under 18 (1957, Georg Tressler).

 Vera Tschechowa
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. 4376. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Grimm / Ufa.

A Formidable Film Career
In 1962 Vera Tschechowa received the Filmband in Gold, the German national film award, for her work in Das Brot der Fruhen Jahre/The Bread of Those Early Years (1962, Herbert Vesely) with Christian Doermer. Since then she has been enjoying a formidable film career, including such diverse films as L'amour à vingt ans/Love at Twenty (1962, François Truffaut a.o.), the Edgar Wallace Krimi Die Gruft mit dem Rätselschloß/Curse of the Hidden Vault (1964, Franz Josef Gottlieb), and the romance Liebe und so weiter/Love and so on (1968, George Moorse), with Vadim Glowna, whom she had married in 1967. She also made numerous appearances on television in several European countries. In 1977 she received the Goldene Camera award for her role in the TV production Zeit der Empfindsamkeit/Age of Sensitivity (1977, Wilma Kottusch). In 1980 she founded together with Glowna the film production Atossa. The company produced Desperado City (1980, Vadim Glowna), which won the 1981 Camera d'Or for Best Debut Film at the Cannes Film Festival. She was also directed by Glowna in Dies rigorose Leben/Nothing Left to Loose (1983, Vadim Glowna) with Angela Molina, and in the documentary Tschechow in meinem Leben/Chekhov in My Life (1984, Vadim Glowna) about the Chekhov dynasty. In the 1990’s and 2000’s Vera Tschechowa has become known as a writer/director/producer of film portraits. First she worked for TV on portraits of the actors Klaus Maria Brandauer (1994), Anthony Quinn (1997), and Robert Redford. IMDb credits Der Filmemacher Ang Lee/Filmmaker Ang Lee (2003, Vera Tschechowa) as her first film as a director. In 2006 she presented her film Salam Cinema: Die iranische Familie Makhmalbaf und ihre Filme/Salaam Cinema - Iran's Makhmalbaf family and their films (2006, Vera Tschechowa) at the Münchner Filmfest. It is a portrait about the Makhmalbaf family of filmmakers. Her most recent film is Michael Ballhaus - Eine Reise durch mein Leben/Michael Ballhaus - A journey through my life (2008, Vera Tschechowa) about the famous German cinematographer. Vera Tschechowa speaks four languages: German, English, French and Russian. After her divorce of Vadim Glowna, she married manager Peter Paschek, who produced her two latest documentaries. She has a son from a relationship with actor Hartmut Reck.

 Vera Tschechowa
German postcard by Ufa (Universum-Film Aktienegesellschaft), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-233. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Klaus Collignon / Ufa.

 Vera Tschechowa
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne Eickel, no. 531. Photo: Bavaria / Astra.

Sources: Steve Shelokhonov (IMDb), Wikipedia (English and German) and IMDb.

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