Liya Medzhidovna Akhedzhakova (born 9 July 1938) is an eminent Soviet and Russian film, stage and voice actress who received the title of People's Artist of Russia in 1994. She won two Nika Awards for Best Actress for her performances in Promised Heaven (1991) and Playing the Victim (2006). She was also awarded the Nika Honorary Prize in 2015. Akhedzhakova was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR. She grew up in a theatrical family in Maykop, Russian SFSR. Her stepfather, Medzhid Salehovich Akhedzhakov (1914–2012), was a Circassian nobleman who served as the Principal Director of the National Theatre of the Republic of Adygea. Her mother, Yuliya Alexandrovna Akhedzhakova (1916–1990), was also an actress at the same drama theatre. At the age of 10, when her mother and aunt was suffering from tuberculosis, she wrote a letter to Joseph Stalin with a request for help. In response, a rare drug was delivered to her family. In 1956, she entered the Moscow Institute of Nonferrous Metals and Gold where she studied for eighteen months. She first appeared on stage in 1961 at Moscow Youth Theatre. In 1962, she graduated from Lunacharsky State Institute for Theatre Arts (GITIS). Her first film appearance was in Ishchu cheloveka (1973) (Russian: Looking for a Man). Her debut in this drama was awarded several prizes at international film festivals in Locarno, Switzerland and Varna, Bulgaria. In 1977, she joined the Sovremennik Theatre. In 1986, she played four main roles in the play Apartment Columbine, directed by Roman Viktyuk. As a film actress, Liya Akhedzhakova became widely known due to her roles in Eldar Ryazanov's films, including Tania in The Irony of Fate (1975), Verochka in Office Romance (1977) and Fima in Promised Heaven (1991). In the 2000 film Old Hags, she played alongside her stepfather. Akhedzhakova's first husband was Valery Nosik, an actor of Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre and Maly Theatre. Her second husband was artist and poet Boris Kocheishvili. In the summer of 2001, Liya Akhedzhakova married the Moscow-based photographer Vladimir Persiyanov. She has no children.
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