Maria Karnilova Movies
Though never a prominent film or television actress, Maria Karnilova
found her true calling as a performer with her Tony-winning performance opposite Zero Mostel in the Broadway hit Fiddler on the Roof. In addition to creating the role of Golde in Fiddler, she also appeared in such Broadway mainstays as Gypsy and earned another Tony nomination for her performance in John Kander and Fred Ebb's Zorba.
The daughter of Russian immigrants, Karnivola was born in Hartford, CT, and spent the majority of her childhood studying ballet and dancing at folk festivals. Later training with the Metropolitan Opera's ballet school, Karnilova crossed over from ballet to musicals in the 1930s, though she would become a charter member of the American Ballet Theatre in 1939. Her film roles separated by more than two decades, Karnilova appeared in both the film adaptation of The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) and Married to the Mob (1988).
On April 20, 2001, Maria Karnilova
died of natural causes in Manhattan. She was 80.
~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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Michelle Pfeiffer is Married to the Mob in this comedy. The wife of Mafia hitman Alec Baldwin, Pfeiffer regularly chastizes her husband for his underhanded line of work. Baldwin refuses to entertain any thoughts of quitting the mob-and besides, he's got a good thing going with Nancy Travis, the promiscuous girl friend of gang boss Dean Stockwell. When Stockwell catches on to Travis' peccadilloes, he murders both his mistress and the unlucky Baldwin. At Baldwin's funeral, Stockwell is overwhelmed by Pfeiffer's beauty, and immediately begins plying her with expensive gifts. But Pfeiffer is through with this sort of thing, and with her young son in tow, she leaves town, hoping to start life anew. Upon making the acquaintance of bumbling, seemingly sincere Matthew Modine, Pfeiffer is convinced that Modine is just another mob flunkey. But it's even worse: Modine is an FBI agent, ordered to get to Stockwell by using Pfeiffer as bait. Reluctantly (he's grown quite fond of her himself), Modine blackmails Pfeiffer into setting up a rendezvous with Stockwell. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine, (more)
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Meredith Willson's second Broadway hit (the first and biggest was The Music Man) proved a lucrative vehicle for the equally unsinkable Debbie Reynolds. Based on a true story, the film casts Debbie as hoydenish Molly Brown, who wangles her way into Denver High Society when she marries "overnight millionaire" Johnny Brown (Harve Presnell). When the local social arbiters give Molly the brush-off, she pulls off a coup by bringing a representative of European royalty, Prince Louis de Laniere (Vassili Lambrinos) into the Colorado community. Her admiration for the prince causes a rift in her marriage; it takes the sinking of the Titanic--wherein Molly heroically commandeers one of the lifeboats and is responsible for rescuing several of the passengers--to bring Molly and Johnny together again. While the energetic performances of such songs as I Ain't Down Yet and Belly Up to the Bar Boys are to be cherished, the real highlight of The Unsinkable Molly Brown is a society ball which ends up in a pie fight between the Denver "elite" and Molly's rambunctious mining-town cronies. Treated condescendingly by the critics, the film struck a responsive chord with audiences to the tune of a $7.5 million gross. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Debbie Reynolds, Harve Presnell, (more)