Zoya Fyodorova

Zoya Alekseyevna Fyodorova (Russian: Зоя Алексеевна Федорова; 21 December [O.S. 8 December] 1907 – 11 December 1981)[1] was a Russian film star who had an affair with American Navy captain Jackson Tate in 1945 and bore a child, Victoria Fyodorova in January 1946. Having rejected the advances of NKVD police head Lavrentiy Beria, the affair was exposed[2] resulting, initially, in a death sentence later reprieved to work camp imprisonment in Siberia; she was released after eight years. She was murdered in her Moscow apartment in 1981.[3]

Zoya Fyodorova
Zoya Fyodorova in Stanitsa Dalnaya.jpg
Zoya Alekseyevna Fyodorova

21 December [O.S. 8 December] 1907
Died11 December 1981(1981-12-11) (aged 73)


Fyodorova was a well-known Russian film star starting in the 1930s, and some of the movies she appeared in were also seen in the United States, including Girl Friends in 1936. During her imprisonment she continued to perform in the Gulag theatres.

The year before Fyodorova was murdered, she appeared in Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980.


University of Connecticut professor Irene Kirk learned of Victoria's story in 1959 and spent years trying to find Tate in the United States.[4] Tate was unaware of having a daughter and of his former lover's arrest and imprisonment.[5] When Kirk found Tate in 1973,[6] she carried correspondence between the two back and forth to Moscow. In 1974, Tate began a campaign to convince the Soviet government to allow his daughter to travel to see him in the United States. Victoria was granted permission and arrived in the United States in March 1975 on a three-month travel visa, and spent several weeks in seclusion in Florida with Tate.

Fyodorova traveled to the United States to be with her daughter, Victoria, when her grandson, Christopher, was born in 1976. Victoria had married an American and stayed in the United States when she was reunited with her father in 1975. On that trip, Zoya Fyodorova was also reunited with her wartime lover, Jackson Tate.[7]

In early 1981, Fyodorova was denied an exit visa by the Soviet government to leave the country and visit her daughter. The reason they gave was that her daughter had "behaved badly", referring to her book describing her parents' affair, The Admiral's Daughter, published in 1979.[8]

Selected filmographyEdit

Later life and deathEdit

Fyodorova lived in the Kutuzovsky Prospekt in Moscow. She died from a gunshot through her eye. No one was seen entering or exiting the apartment and the case remains unsolved.[1] Her death was first reported in the American press as being an apparent heart attack.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Fyodorova, Film Star, Is Slain". The New York Times. 1981-12-16. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  2. ^ "Life Has Been A Drama for Russian-born Actress". Chicago Tribune. 1985-06-21.
  3. ^ Bond, Charlotte (2018-09-17). "Soviet Actress and U.S. Naval Officer – True Story of Love in the Cold War". WAR HISTORY ONLINE. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  4. ^ Clarity, James F. (1975-01-27). "A Soviet Child of War Wants to Visit U.S. Father". The New York Times. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Adm. Jackson R. Tate, 79, Dies; Got Russians to Free Daughter". The New York Times. 1978-07-21. p. B2.
  6. ^ "Adm. Jackson Tate Dies, Won Fight For Russian-Born Daughter to Visit". The Washington Post. 1978-07-21. p. B4.
  7. ^ Jennings, Parrott (1976-05-05). "Newsmakers: For 2 Old Flames, a Trick Is a Treat". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
  8. ^ Parrott, Jennings (1981-01-08). "Newsmakers: Not Nyet, Actress Told of Trip to U.S.". Los Angeles Times. p. SD2.
  9. ^ Associated Press (1981-12-14). "Soviet Actress Was Figure in Incident of Wartime Romance". Los Angeles Times. p. C2.

External linksEdit