Family & Companions
This classically trained dancer achieved success onstage in the 1930s before making a handful of Hollywood films. Vera Zorina (nee Eva Brigitta Hartwig) began her professional career as a child dancing in Norway. She also appeared in Max Reinhardt's stage production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" before concentrating on her ballet career. Zorina starred as a ballerina in the London production of "On Your Toes" and in 1938 married the show's choreographer George Balanchine. He in turn had successfully guided her in several carefully packaged theatrical showcases before the two of them went to Hollywood for "The Goldwyn Follies" later that year. A leggy, talented dancer and an appropriate vehicle for many of Balanchine's modern-dance innovations, the strong-featured Zorina was a very limited actress who never achieved substantial success in films. In retrospect, her most enjoyable film--and performance--was in the unjustly overlooked tale of cross and double-cross among thieves, "I Was an Adventuress" (1940), in which she was brilliantly supported by Erich von Stroheim and Peter Lorre. She found success on stage in such shows as "I Married an Angel" and as Ariel in Margaret Webster's staging of "The Tempest." In her later years, Zorina enjoyed success appearing as a narrator with opera companies and, with her second husband Goddard Lieberson, as a record producer.
Cast (Feature Film)
Made professional dance debut at age 6 in Norway
Joined Ballet Russe
Signed by Samuel Goldwyn to perform in "Goldwyn Follies"
First starring Broadway role in "I Married an Angel"
Recreated stage role in film version of "Louisiana Purchase"
Acted the role of Ariel in Margaret Webster's stage production of "The Tempest"
Debut as a narrator
Became managing director of Norwegian Opera
Became music consultant and album producer at Columbia Records