Vija Artmane has been called the legend of Latvian theatre and cinema. She was born Alida Fritsevna Artmane, on July 21, 1929, in a villagenear Tukums, Latvia. Her father, Fritsis Artmane, was of Batic Germanancestry, and he died four months before she was born. Her Polishmother, Anna Zaborska, survived by doing seasonal agricultural jobs.
Young Artmane grew up playing in the fields, she was fond of wildflowers and learned to make flower arrangements and dolls. At the ageof 10, young Artmane became a shepherd girl. She worked with a herd ofcows for five years, and survived until the end of the Second WorldWar. In 1946 she graduated from school and had a dream of becoming alawyer in order to make the world a better place, but her passion foracting prevailed. In 1946 she moved to Riga, and changed her first name to Vija, beginningher studies at the Daile Theatre Second Studio.
From 1946 - 1949 VijaArtmane studied acting under the tutelage of the legendary Latviantheatre director Eduard Smilgis. From 1949 to 1999 Artmane was apermanent member of the troupe at the Daile Theatre in Riga. Her mostmemorable stage works were Juliet in 'Romeo and Juliet' (1953), andOfelia in 'Hamlet' among other Shakespeare's plays. Vija Artmane hadalso created important roles in Latvian plays such as 'Indulis andArija' and 'Fire and Night' under direction of by Janis Rajnis. She wascritically acclaimed for her passionate performance as Anna Karenina inthe eponymous play by 'Leo Tolstoy' directed by Eduard Smilgis;she also played in Tolstoy's 'War and Peace', in Gogol's 'Dead Souls',and other classic Russian plays.
From 1998 to 2000 she worked with theNew Riga Theatre. There she appeared in the title role in stageproduction of 'Queen of Spades' based on the eponymous drama by'Alexander Pushkin' . In 1956 Artmane made her film debut in 'Posle shtorma' (1957) (aka. . After the Storm).
In 1963 she shot to fame in the Soviet Union with herleading role as Sonya, a beautiful and loving mother, in Rodnaya krov (1964) . After that film Artmane was nicknamed"Mother-Latvia" in her homeland. Her film career was highlighted withsuch roles as Veda Kong in Tumannost Andromedy (1967) , asCatherine the Great in Emelyan Pugachev (1979) , as Julia Lamberin Teatris (1978) and other film works. Artmane appeared asherself in documentary on her biography titled 'Conversation with theQueen' (1980) which was produced at the Riga Film Studio. Vija Artmane received the title of National Actress of Latvia, and wasdesignated People's Artist of the USSR in 1969.
In 1999 Vija Artmanewas awarded by the Culture Ministry of Latvia for her contribution tothe art of theatre and cinema. In 2003 she received a special TheatrePrize for her long-standing contribution to Latvian culture. VijaArtmane was married to actor 'Arturs Dimiters' and the couple hadtwo children, a son and a daughter. In 2004 she published a book ofmemoirs titled 'The moments of my life'. She died on October 8, 2008 ofnatural causes and was laid to rest in Pokrovsky cemetery in Riga,Latvia.
|1||Ainult hulludele ehk halastajaõde||1990||as Siina|
|2||Davana vientulai sievietei||1973||as Kopiene/Gita|
|3||Kamenskaya: Igra na chuzhom pole||2000||as Valter|
|4||Teatris||1978||as Dzhuliya Lambert (Julia Lambert)|
|5||Za lebedinoy staey oblakov||1956||as Dace Straume|
|6||Chuzhaya v posyolke||1959||as Elza|
|7||Emelyan Pugachev||1979||as Catherine the Great|
|8||Emila nedarbi||1985||as Nabagmajas komendante|
|10||Gosudarstvennaya granitsa: My nash, my novyy...||1980||as Zinaida Kirillovna|
|12||Me, gamomdziebeli||1971||as Vanda|
|13||Mernieku laiki||1969||as Liena|
|14||Moonzund||1987||as frau Milch|
|15||Na poroge buri||1961||as Mara Vilde|
|16||Niekas nenorejo mirti||1966||as Ona|
|17||Podvig Farkhada||1970||as Vera|
|18||Purva bridejs||1966||as Kristina|
|19||Strely Robin Guda||1976||as Ket|
|20||Svesas kaislibas||1986||as Anna|
|21||Tayna snezhnoy korolevy||1986||as Mrs. Autumn|
|22||Tumannost Andromedy||1967||as Veda Kong|
|23||Noch pered rassvetom||1969||as Karla|