Translation from an article in, a online Bulgarian newspaper,
Jan. 25, 2013

Irina and the Artist

Although the name of the actress Irina Maleeva may not be well-known in Bulgaria, she realized an enviable career abroad. She worked in Italy and Europe, living in the United States since 1985. Her name is associated with film director Federico Fellini, and the artist Frederich Hundertwasser, both recognized as geniuses in their fields. Maleeva is the daughter of the legendary actress of Bulgarian National Theatre, Irina Taseva (1910-1990).

"I was emotionally and sensually involved with Irina Maleeva!" Hundertwasser admitted. The Austrian avant-garde painter, well known as an artist in Europe, especially Italy, Austria and Germany, was also the creator of unique buildings in Vienna, built without angles. He had a romance with a talented beauty and brought her face to one of his most famous paintings. It is one of the most enigmatic for his fans. He called it "Irinaland over The Balkans." The original is in a museum in Japan.

In Bulgaria even in theater circles, Irina Maleeva is known as "the daughter of Irina Taseva," who is remembered as one of the most magnetic actresses in the history of the National Theatre. Edited by Atanas Svilenov, Taseva's memoirs were published in March 2012. The book "Goodbye, Love," in which Taseva is saying good-bye to the theater she loved, was funded by her daughter, a beauty like her mother. In the book, Irina Maleeva did not add a word about herself, although there is a lot that she could have said.

Irina Maleeva

Irina moved to Rome to pursue set design at the Academy of Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti). At the same time, she studied acting at the studio of the Italian director Alessandro Fersen. Irina was in one of his plays, when Giulietta Masina saw her.

Impressed by the beauty with long black hair, and by her singing voice, Masina took her into the studio "Cinecittà" where her husband Federico Fellini was casting for his film "Satyricon." He told her, "You're an exotic," and then offered her roles in three of his films. Irina was only 17.

After that, she worked with American film director Orson Welles. In "The Merchant of Venice" Welles gave her the role of Jessica – a part her mother had played in her early years in the National Theatre.

Irina Maleeva is a universal artist. She is an actor, singer, dancer, painter – and her career keeps going on even today.