Lila Kedrova
Kedrova in 1965
Yelizaveta Nikolayevna Kedrova

(1909-10-09)9 October 1909
Died16 February 2000(2000-02-16) (aged 90)
Years active1938–1994
  • Pierre Valde
    (m. 1948; div. 19??)
  • Richard Howard
    (m. 1968)

Yelizaveta Nikolaevna Kedrova (Russian: Елизавета Николаевна Кедрова; 9 October 1909[1] – 16 February 2000), known as Lila Kedrova, was a Russian-born French actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Zorba the Greek in 1964, and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for the same role in the musical stage version of the film in 1984.[2]

Life and career

Yelizaveta Nikolayevna Kedrova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the youngest of three children. Her parents were Russian opera singers. Her father, Nikolay Kedrov Sr. (1871–1940), was a singer and composer, a creator of the first Russian male quartet to perform liturgical chants. Her mother, Sofia Gladkaya (ru: Софья Николаевна Гладкая; 1874–1965), was a singer at the Mariinsky Theatre and a teacher at the Conservatoire de Paris. Her brother, Nikolay Kedrov Jr. (died 1981), was a Russian singer and composer of liturgical music. Her sister, Irene Kedroff (Irina Nikolayevna Kedrova; died 1989), was a soprano.[3]

Several years after the October Revolution, in 1922, the family emigrated to Berlin. In 1928, they moved to France, where Kedrova's mother taught at the Conservatoire de Paris, and her father again recreated Quatuor Kedroff. In 1932, Kedrova joined the Moscow Art Theatre touring company. Then her film career began, mostly in French films, until her first English-language film appearance as Madame Hortense in Zorba the Greek (1964). Her performance won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Kedrova then appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's film Torn Curtain (1966), playing the role of Countess Kuchinska, a Polish noblewoman in East Berlin who is desperate to emigrate to the United States. Kedrova played Fräulein Schneider in the West End stage production of Cabaret in 1968. She then played a series of eccentric and crazy women in Hollywood films. In 1983, she reprised her role as Madame Hortense on Broadway in the musical stage version of Zorba the Greek, winning both a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical in the process. In 1989, she played Madame Armfeldt in the London revival of A Little Night Music.[4]

Her second husband was Canadian stage director Richard Howard (1932–2017).[5]


In 2000, Kedrova died at her summer home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, of pneumonia, having suffered a long time with Alzheimer's disease. She was survived by her second husband, her only immediate relative.[2][6] She was cremated. Her ashes are buried in her family grave in the Russian cemetery in Paris.[citation needed]


List of acting performances in film and television
Title Year Role Notes
Ultimatum 1938 Irina as Lila Kédrova
No Way Back 1953 Ljuba
Le Défroqué 1954 Uncredited
Flesh and the Woman 1954 Rose
Les Impures 1955 Mme. Denis, la concierge
Les Chiffonniers d'Emmaus 1955 Le femme de Bastien Uncredited
Razzia sur la chnouf 1955 Léa
Futures vedettes 1955 Mme. Dimater, Sophie's mother
Des gens sans importance 1956 Mme. Vacopoulos
Calle Mayor 1956 Pepita
Until the Last One 1957 Marcella Bastia
Ce joli monde 1957 Léa
The Lovers of Montparnasse 1958 Mme. Sborowsky
La Femme et le Pantin 1959 Manuela
Jons und Erdme 1959
Mon pote le gitan 1959 La Choute
Kriss Romani 1963 Kirvi
La Mort d'un tueur 1964 La mère de Massa
Zorba the Greek 1964 Madame Hortense Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
A High Wind in Jamaica 1965 Rosa, Tampico Bar Owner
Torn Curtain 1966 Countess Kuchinska
Penelope 1966 Sadaba
Maigret de Pigalle 1967 Rose Alfonsi
Le Canard en fer-blanc 1967 Rosa
The Girl Who Couldn't Say No 1968 Yolanda's mother
The Kremlin Letter 1970 Madam Sophie
A Time for Loving 1972 Madame Olga Dubillard
Rak 1972 La mère de David
Escape to the Sun 1972 Sarah Kaplan
Soft Beds, Hard Battles 1974 Madame Grenier
Alla mia cara mamma nel giorno del suo compleanno 1974 Countess Mafalda
Footprints on the Moon 1975 Mrs. Heim, Old woman on the beach
The Cursed Medallion 1975 Contessa Cappelli
Eliza's Horoscope 1975 Lila
The Tenant 1976 Madame Gaderian
Moi, fleur bleue 1977 Countess de Tocqueville
Nido de Viudas 1977 Mother US: Widow's Nest
Le Paradis des riches 1978 Camille Chevallier
Le Cavaleur 1979 Olga
Les Égouts du paradis 1979 Charlotte
Womanlight 1979 Sonia Tovalski
Les Parents terribles 1980 Yvonne
Tell Me a Riddle 1980 Eva
Il Turno 1981 Maria
Blood Tide 1982 Sister Anna
Testament 1983 Uncredited
Sword of the Valiant 1984 Lady of Lyonesse
Some Girls 1988 Granny
Two Men 1988 Rose
A Star for Two 1991 Simone
Next Time the Fire 1993 Mother

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Results Ref.
1964 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Zorba the Greek Won [7]
1965 British Academy Film Awards Best Foreign Actress Nominated [8]
1975 Canadian Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Eliza's Horoscope Won
1984 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Zorba Won[a] [9]
1964 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Zorba the Greek Nominated [10]
1964 Laurel Awards Supporting Performance – Female 4th Place
New Faces – Female 6th Place
1981 Taormina International Film Festival Best Actress Tell Me a Riddle Won
1984 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Musical Zorba Won [11]


  1. ^ Tied with Catherine Cox for Baby.


  1. ^ "Lila Kedrova (1909-2000) - Find a Grave Memorial". Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b Gelder, Lawrence Van (20 April 2000). "Lila Kedrova, Known for Oscar-Winning Role in 'Zorba,' Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Irene Kedroff (Soprano) - Short Biography".
  4. ^ Sondheim, Stephen (2000). Four by Sondheim. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 360. ISBN 9781557839862.
  5. ^ Obituary of Richard Howard, Accessed 3 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Lila Kedrova, Who Won An Oscar And Tony For Her Work In 'Zorba'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  7. ^ "The 37th Academy Awards (1965) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  8. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1966". British Academy Film Awards. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  9. ^ "Nominees and Recipients – 1984 Awards". Drama Desk Awards. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  10. ^ "Lila Kedrova". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  11. ^ "1984 Tony Awards". Tony Awards. Retrieved 3 October 2023.