Motion Picture Director. One of the Soviet Union's most honored and popular filmakers. He won international acclaim for his masterful "Gorky Trilogy", adapted from the memoirs of the famed Russian author. The three films are "The Childhood of Maxim Gorky" (1938), "My Apprenticeship" (1939), and "My Universities" (1940). These and Donskoy's other films are marked by warmth and compassion, and are refreshingly free of propaganda. He was particularly skilled working with children and took pains to preserve their natural spontaneity on the screen. Mark Semyonovich Donskoy was born in Odessa, Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire. He served in the Red Army during the Civil War and for nearly a year underwent torture as a prisoner of the Whites. Following his discharge in 1920 he studied psychiatry and law but dropped both subjects to follow a career in films. After apprenticing as a scenarist and assistant editor he formed a writing-directing team with Mikhail Auerbach and made his solo feature debut with "Fire" (1931). In the mid-1930s Donskoy was befriended by the aging Gorky, who gave him tacit approval to film his autobiography but did not live to see the very successful results; thereafter he was regarded as the foremost cinematic interpreter of Gorky's work. His other credits include "In the Big City" (co-directed with Auerbach, 1928), "The Fop" (1930), "Song About Happiness" (1934), "How the Steel Was Tempered" (1942), "The Rainbow" (1944), "Unconquered" (1945), "Mother" (1956), "The Gordeyev Family" (1959), "A Mother's Heart" (1966), and "Nadyezhda" (1973). Donskoy was awarded the Order of Lenin twice (1944, 1971) and three Stalin Prizes, and was named People's Artist of the USSR (1966) and a Hero of Socialist Labor (1971).
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Irina Borisovna Donskaya