- Category : 1917-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Tension 4
Norwegian ballerina, theatre and film actress, and choreographer.
Vera Zorina's father, Fritz Hartwig, was a German lapsed Roman Catholic, and her mother, Abigail Johanne Wimpelmann (known as Billie Hartwig), was Norwegian and Lutheran. Both were professional singers. Young Eva was brought up in a small coastal town between Trondheim and Bergen, called Kristiansund North, where she debuted as a dancer at the Festiviteten, the oldest opera house in Norway. She received her education at the Lyceum for Girls in Berlin and was trained in dance by Olga Preobrajenska and Nicholas Legat.
At age 12, she was presented to Max Reinhardt, who cast her in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1929) and Tales of Hoffman (1931). A performance at London's Gaiety Theatre won her an invitation to join the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1933, at which time she adopted the stage name of Vera Zorina. A few years later, she attained a lead role in the London production of On Your Toes (1937) and was seen by American film producer Samuel Goldwyn, who signed her to a seven-year film contract. She appeared in a number of Hollywood movies between 1938 and 1946.
One of her most iconic stage roles was in the 1938 Rodgers and Hart musical I Married an Angel. As the title character, she played an exquisite angel who descended from heaven to marry Hungarian banker played by Dennis King, but whose complete lack of human guile presented him with a whole new set of problems.
In the 1970s, Vera Zorina was appointed director of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet (Den Norske Opera & Ballet). Later, she was active with the Lincoln Center as an adviser and director and, for several seasons, directed operas at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico. In 1986, she completed her autobiography, Zorina.
Zorina was married to choreographer George Balanchine, her first, his second, in 1938; the couple divorced in 1946. She danced in productions he choreographed for both stage and screen, including On Your Toes, a Broadway hit later adapted for the screen by Lawrence Riley.
Her second husband was Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson, from 1946 until his death on 29 May 1977. They had two sons: Peter Lieberson, a composer, and Jonathan Lieberson. Her final marriage was to harpsichordist Paul Wolfe, from 1991 until 9 April 2003, when she died of undisclosed causes at age 86.