Valentina Mikhailovna Leontyeva (Alevtina Thorson) is a popular Soviet TV presenter and announcer of Central Television. In addition, she is a People's Artist of the USSR and the RSFSR, a laureate of the USSR State Prize.
Millions of children living in the USSR knew and loved "Aunt Valya" - the host of the most popular children's programs. And adults remember Valentina Mikhailovna from the programs "From the bottom of my heart", "Blue Light" that have been on the screens of the country for many years.
Childhood and youth
The girl's biography began in Petrograd, where she was born in 1923, on August 1. Her parents are native Petersburgers, they worked as accountants. Dad is on the railroad, and mom is in the city hospital. At home, an atmosphere of love and care has always reigned.
In her memoirs, Valentina Mikhailovna more than once talked about the magnificent balls, carnivals and musical evenings that were held at their homes. Dad loved his girls very much, and they adored him too. Even after many years, in memory of her father, Valentina and her sister Lyudmila retained their maiden names when they got married.
In the first years of the outbreak of the war, the family remained in Leningrad. Valya and her sister enrolled in the ranks of the air defense detachment. When there was almost no food left in Leningrad to save his family from the inevitable hunger, the father went to donate blood so that he could be given additional food. One day, stocking up on firewood to heat the apartment, Mikhail Grigorievich deeply wounded his hand and an infection got into the wound. When the sisters brought his father to the hospital, he already had blood poisoning. There were not enough medicines, doctors could not help him, and soon his father passed away.
In 1942, Valentina, her sister, who had recently had a child, and her mother left the besieged Leningrad. On the "Road of Life" they were able to cross Ladoga. Three of them were saved, except for the little son of my sister, who died on the way from the besieged city.
During the evacuation, the family lived in a small village in the Ulyanovsk region, where Valentina graduated from high school. After the war, they returned first to Leningrad, and then moved to Moscow.
Valentina was going to get higher education in the capital. The girl entered the Moscow Art Institute, but soon stopped her studies and began to earn money, because the family did not have enough money. After a few years, she decides to continue her studies, but chooses a different profession. Leontyeva enters the studio at the Moscow Art Theater and the Schepkinsky School. At one of the meetings with the students of the studio, the director of the Tambov Theater notices her and invites her to his troupe. Valentina accepts the offer and moves to Tambov. There she begins her work in the local theater.
In the early 1950s, Leontyeva returned to the capital and successfully passed a competitive selection of young talents on television. V. Zaikin, who headed the commission, recalled that Valya conquered everyone with her spontaneity, intelligence and the way she splendidly recited the text offered to her by heart, without prompting.
Leontyeva was immediately hired, but her debut performance in a new capacity was not very successful. Valentina could not cope with internal stress and excitement, because she had to urgently replace a sick colleague and without any preparation to appear in front of the camera. As a result, the performance became a failure, and they even wanted to fire her right away, but the announcer O. Vysotskaya, who worked at the All-Union Radio, stood up for her young colleague. So Leontyeva remained on television.
She came a long way before becoming a famous and beloved TV presenter. In the early years of her work, funny and sometimes dramatic situations happened to her. For example, at the "Blue Light" Valentina's heel got stuck between the floorboards so that she could not move her leg on her own, and had to stand in one place for the entire program. And once on one of the programs dedicated to circus art, she was bitten by a bear cub. Only after the end of the broadcast did everyone see that the host's hand was wrapped in a scarf, but she did not even show that something had happened to her, and brought the live broadcast to the end.
Soon the whole country already knew Valentina Leontyeva. The presenter became the face of Central Television, which hosted numerous festive broadcasts from Red Square, beloved by all viewers "Blue Lights" and the program "From the bottom of my heart", where she spoke about the fates of people scattered by fate across the country and their unexpected meetings, which took place right in a studio. Each time viewers were looking forward to the next broadcast, this program became one of the most popular programs aired on Central Television.
In the 1960s, radical changes took place in the TV presenter's creative career: Valentina turned into “Aunt Valya”. She becomes the host of the children's programs "Good night, kids", "Visiting a fairy tale", "Skillful hands", "Alarm clock". Children wrote hundreds of letters to her, she tried to read each one and kept children's drawings and messages in old boxes until the end of her days. Valentina Mikhailovna said that it began to seem to her that the funny toys - Piggy, Stepashka, Karkusha - were really alive, and she even invented birthdays for each of them.
Leontyeva was awarded many titles for her invaluable contribution to the development of television, creativity and work. She received the State Prize and the famous "TEFI" for the program "With all my heart". Leontyeva is the only woman who worked as announcers to receive the title of People's Artist of the USSR.
Leontyeva's first husband is Yuri Reshar, a theater director in Tambov, whom she met in her youth. They got married in Tambov, and soon moved to the capital. Their marriage did not last long. The husband wanted to see Valentina as a housewife, and his wife flatly refused to stay at home and devoted all her time to work.
The second husband is Yuri Vinogradov, a diplomat with whom Leontyeva lived for some time in America in the 1960s. Love arose between them at the first meeting, which took place in one of the capital's restaurants. Soon they formalized the relationship, and the couple had a son, Dmitry.
Unfortunately, the relationship between mother and son did not work out due to the fact that Valentina was practically not involved in raising Dmitry and did not devote time to him. He could not forgive this, and even at the end of his life, Leontyeva did not manage to reconcile with his son.
On the death of a TV presenter
Valentina Mikhailovna spent the last years of her life in a village near Ulyanovsk, where Dmitry brought her. Little was remembered about her, and she herself rarely met with anyone and almost did not keep in touch with one of her former colleagues, spending her days alone.
Valentina Mikhailovna was ill for a long time and practically lost her sight.
Leontyeva passed away on May 20, 2007. She was buried in a local cemetery, and only a few former colleagues attended the funeral.