Ekaterina Savinova

Ekaterina Fyodorovna Savinova (Russian: Екатерина Фёдоровна Савинова; 26 December 1926 – 25 April 1970) was a Soviet theatre and film actress and singer most famous for the leading role in the comedy movie Come Tomorrow, Please... directed by her husband Yevgeny Tashkov. She was named Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR in 1965.[1]

Ekaterina Savinova
Ekaterina Fyodorovna Savinova

(1926-12-26)26 December 1926
Died25 April 1970(1970-04-25) (aged 43)
Novosibirsk, RSFSR, USSR
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1946–70
Spouse(s)Yevgeny Tashkov
ChildrenAndrey Tashkov

Early life

Ekaterina Savinova was born in the Yeltsovka village (modern-day Yeltsovsky District, Altai Krai of Russia) into a peasant family, the youngest of four children. Her ancestors, originally from Penza Governorate, resettled in Siberia during the Stolypin reform. Her father Fyodor Yakovlevich Savinov worked in kolkhoz. Savinova inherited her singing talent from her mother Maria Semyonovna Savinova. She finished a secondary school and on August 1944 left for Moscow to enter acting courses. She was too late for exams, so she studied in a farming university and in half a year entered an additional VGIK course launched by Vasili Vanin. She was soon dismissed "for the lack of acting skills", but this didn't stop her, and during the next summer she became a VGIK student under Boris Bibikov and his wife Olga Pyzhova.[2][3]

She studied along with her future husband Yevgeny Tashkov. They graduated in 1950 and in a year they got married. In 1957 their son Andrey Tashkov was born (also a popular Russian actor). After VGIK Savinova entered the Gnessin State Musical College to study vocals. Her rare voice (3.5 octave) was so impressive that she was offered to perform at the Bolshoi Theatre and pop scene upon graduation, yet she declined all offers, because she saw herself only as a cinema actress and "just enjoyed singing on her own".[4][3]


She played her first big role in 1949 in the musical comedy Cossacks of the Kuban where she also performed the singing parts. According to Tashkov, director Ivan Pyryev (who also served as the head of Mosfilm at the time) tried to seduce Savinova. She slapped Pyryev in the face, and after that he used his influence to ruin her career. For many years she appeared only in supporting or episodic roles. Nevertheless, she received the Best Acting Award at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival along with other actors of A Big Family.[5] From 1952 on she also performed at the National Film Actors' Theatre.[3]

In 1961 Tashkov decided to produce his own comedy movie with his wife in the leading role. Together they wrote a screenplay which turned to be partially autobiographical. The heroine – named after Savinova's childhood friend Frosya Burlakova – was also a yound girl with a unique voice who arrived to Moscow from a small Siberian village Yeltsovka hoping to enter the Gnessin College, too late for exams. Many comic episodes were also "borrowed" from real life. In addition to all singing parts Savinova also voiced one of the characters – Maria Semyonovna, an elderly housekeeper named after her mother. Tashkov, in turn, voiced the leading male character played by Anatoli Papanov.[2][3]

Illness and death

During the shooting Tashkov revealed that his wife had been suffering from high temperature for a long time, yet kept quite about it. At one point they had to call ambulance. He insisted on physical examination. After going through many checks Savinova was finally diagnosed with brucellosis: she got infected by drinking unpasteurized milk. The shooting had to be delayed for a year.[6]

When the film was finished, it turned a great success. Savinova was named the best actress at the 1964 All-Union Film Festival. In 1965 she was named the Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. The spouses then toured around the country with concerts where Tashkov talked about filmmaking and Savinova performed with songs. During that time she started complaining about "hearing voices". Turned out brucellosis touched her brain and nervous system which led to sluggish schizophrenia. From then on Savinova's health had been slowly decreasing. She had to take a lot of medicine and spent months in mental clinics.[3][6]

She continued touring with concerts and acting. In 1964 she played another notable role in the comedy Balzaminov's Marriage, yet the illness had been progressing, and Savinova felt it. In 1970 she suddenly left for Novosibirsk and spent a month with her sister. On 25 April 1970 Savinova left for Moscow, arrived to a local train station and threw herself under the passing train. "Just like Anna Karenina whose monologue she read during the entry exams at VGIK", as Tashkov later recalled.[2][3]

Savinova was buried at the Kleshchikhinskoye Cemetery in Novosibirsk. During the lifetime she was very religious, and her husband insisted on conducting a memorial service in the Russian Orthodox traditions. In 2006 the tomb was moved to a better part of the cemetery and renewed.[6][7]


In 1995 Leonid Filatov dedicated the 9th episode of his long-running documentary series To Be Remembered to Savinova.

In 2011 during the 85th anniversary of Savinova's birth a Museum of Ekaterina Savinova was opened in the Yeltsovka village.[8][9]

Same year a book of memoirs and other writings left by the actress, Light of the Faded Star: Ekaterina Savinova, was published.[10]

Also in 2011 the movie Come Tomorrow, Please... was restored, colorized and shown on Channel One Russia.[11]

Selected filmography

Year English Title Original Title Role
1946 Life Pages Страницы жизни Katya Sorokina
1949 Cossacks of the Kuban Кубанские казаки Lubochka
1953 Chuk and Gek Чук и Гек mail carrier (uncredited)
Mysterious Discovery Таинственная находка Ekaterina Sotnikova
Alyosha Ptitsyn Grows Up Алёша Птицын вырабатывает характер ice cream vendor (uncredited)
1954 A Big Family Большая семья Dunyasha Zhurbina
1955 The Shadow Near the Pier Тень у пирса Klava Shubina
1959 Ballad of a Soldier Баллада о солдате conductor (uncredited)
1963 Come Tomorrow, Please... Приходите завтра… Frosya Burlakova; Maria Semyonovna (voiceover)
1964 Balzaminov's Marriage Женитьба Бальзаминова Matryona
Come Here, Mukhtar! Ко мне, Мухтар! Verochka
1968 Zigzag of Success Зигзаг удачи saleswoman (uncredited)
1970 Payback Расплата Annushka the neighbor


  1. Cinema: Encyclopedic Dictionary // ed. Sergei Yutkevich. — Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia, 1987, p. 377
  2. Islands. Ekaterina Savinova documentary by Russia-K, 2016 (in Russian)
  3. Ludmila Grabenko. Interview with Yevgeny Tashkov at the Gordon's Boulevard newspaper № 17, 27 April 2010 (in Russian)
  4. Tatiana Bulkina (2011). A Reverence to the Soviet Cinema // Interview with Yevgeny Tashkov. — Moscow: Moskovia Publishing House, pp. 289—294 ISBN 5-7151-0333-9
  5. A Big Family at the official Cannes Film Festival website
  6. Irina Kravchenko. Andrei Tashkov: "Everyone Is Alive in My Heart" interview from Story Caravan, 21 June 2012 (in Russian)
  7. Ekaterina Savinova's tomb
  8. Museum of Ekaterina Savinova
  9. Memorial Museum of Ekaterina Savinova at the official Altai Krai website (in Russian)
  10. Ekaterina Savinova (2011). Light of the Faded Star: Ekaterina Savinova. — Barnaul: Azbuka, 208 pages ISBN 978-5-93957-480-8
  11. Sergei Efimov. Frosya Burlakova Will Sing in Full Colour from Komsomolskaya Pravda, 30 November 2011 (in Russian)
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