• U.S.

People: Oct. 6, 1986

1 minute read
Guy D. Garcia

In one of the century’s most famous mysteries, Anna Anderson claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, Nicholas II’s youngest daughter and the sole survivor of the 1918 massacre of the Russian imperial family. But she died in 1984 without ever proving her claim, and her true identity remains uncertain. Now Anderson has again been the cause of controversy, this time over who would play her in a four-part nbc version of Anastasia shot in Vienna for broadcast this winter. According to Amy Irving, the producers picked her first. When she passed, the role was offered to Nastassja Kinski. Then, for reasons as inscrutable as Rasputin’s stare, Kinski was out and Irving was back in. Why? Olivia de Havilland, who plays Anastasia’s grandmother, notes that Irving “looks very much like Anna Anderson.” Kinski is not talking. Irving cites the signing-on of Rex Harrison, who plays Grand Duke Cyril and with whom she co-starred on Broadway in 1983. “Rex’s being involved helped change my mind,” says Irving, who adds that the mini-series is more than a rehash of the 1956 movie: “This one is closer to the facts.” If not necessarily the truth.

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