Family & Companions
Sometimes a part comes along that is so perfectly tailored to an actor's strengths, it is correctly said the role was made for her or him. For Russian-born Lila Kedrova, it was Madame Hortense, the dying courtesan of "Zorba the Greek" (1964), which showcased her fragility, sensitivity and eccentricity. The petite actress earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the film and when she reprised it some twenty years later in a revival of the Kander-Ebb-Joseph Stein musical adaptation "Zorba!" in 1983, picked up both Drama Desk and Tony Awards. Kedrova, whose family settled in France in the late 1920s, began her career in European films, playing her first 'Madame' in Juan Antonio Bardem's acclaimed "Calle Mayor" (1956). After her English-language debut in "Zorba," she followed with a colorful turn as a Tampico bawdy house madam in "High Wind in Jamaica" (1965). She was a daffy Polish refugee in Alfred Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain" (1966) and yet another Madame (Martini) in NBC's "Cool Million" (1972). One of her better screen portrayals was as Melvyn Douglas' dying wife in "Tell Me a Riddle" (1980). Among her other roles was her sweet, batty Granny in "Some Girls" (1988), but she is Madame Hortense for the ages, wringing tears from all corners as she expires in Anthony Quinn's arms.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Moved to France
Joined the Moscow Arts Theatre touring company
Film debut, "Weg ohne Umkehr/No Way Back"
Portrayed Madame Pepita in Juan Antonio Bardem's "Calle Mayor", winner of the International Film Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival
Won Supporting Actress Oscar as the dying French courtesan Madame Hortense in "Zorba the Greek", starring Anthony Quinn; was last minute replacement for actress Simone Signoret
Brought exotic flair to her part as a Tampico bawdy house madam and owner of Quinn's boat in "A High Wind in Jamaica"
Registered as a daffy, but pitiable Polish refuge who assists Paul Newman and Julie Andrews in their escape to the West in Alfred Hitchcok's Cold War spy drama "Torn Curtain"
Played Madame Martine in NBC movie pilot "Cool Million", which preceded the series of the same name (Kedrova was not in the short-lived series, part of the NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie, along with "Banacek" and "Madigan")
Starred in "Tell Me a Riddle" as an aging woman on her deathbed who reconciles with her husband (Melvyn Douglas) before dying after 40 unfulfilled years of marriage; film was Lee Grant's directing debut
Reprised role as Madame Hortense in triumphant Broadway musical "Zorba!", winning both a Drama Desk Award and a Tony
Portrayed the Lady of Lyonesse in "Sword of the Valiant
Played sweet, batty grandmother who keeps running away from the hospital in "Some Girls"
Acted role of Madame Armfeldt in London production of "A Little Night Music"
Third film with Quinn, "A Star for Two"
Last feature to date, "La Promissa Volta il Fuoco/Next Time the Fire"