Liubov Sergeevna Sokolova (Lyubov Sokolova) was born on July 31, 1921, in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, USSR. Her father was an artisan furniture maker, and her mother was a saleswoman. Young Sokolova was fascinated with acting and became involved in the drama class at her school. Her first public performance was in 1937, she played a man's role of Onegin in the drama by Alexander Pushkin. In 1940 she became a student at the Gertsen Institute in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and was also looking for an acting job.
In the fall of 1940, Sokolova passed a rigorous acting test with her performance of Nina's monologue from 'Chaika' (The Seagull), by Anton Chekhov. She was admitted to the Leningrad Institute of Theatre and Cinematography, where she became a student of Sergey Gerasimov. She also became happily married to her fellow actor Georgi Arapovsky, and her life and career looked good. In 1941, during the Second World War, Leningrad was besieged by the Nazis, causing starvation and death of most of its four million citizens. Sokolova and her husband had to work for food at a Leningrad industry. Soon her husband and other relatives died of starvation in Leningrad. She starved to unconsciousness, and was miraculously saved by her fellow students. In 1942 she escaped from Leningrad to her parents in Ivanovo, then went to Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. There she became a student at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), which was evacuated from Moscow to Alma-Ata during the war. Sokolova received a scholarship as a survivor of the siege of Leningrad.
Sokolova was described by many as an absolutely innocent girl, she was pure of heart, and remained a very sincere person all of her life. One situation in 1940 revealed her absolute purity: she was cast for a supporting role in 'Frontovye Podrugi' (Girls From Leningrad 1941), but refused to work with the powerful writer/director Sergey Mikhalkov, because of his obscene jokes; she immediately left his film and never worked with him again.
Upon her graduation from VGIK in 1946, she worked with the Moscow Theatre-studio of Film actors. From 1951-1956 Sokolova worked for the Red Army Theatre Company in East Germany. In 1958, she married director Georgiy Daneliya, and they had one son, Nikolai Daneliya. Sokolova played over 370 roles in Russian and International films. She worked with such film directors as Sergey Gerasimov, Mark Donskoy, Lev Kulidzhanov, Igor Talankin, Vasiliy Shukshin, Stanislav Rostotskiy, Andrey Konchalovskiy, Nikita Mikhalkov, Venyamin Dorman, Georgiy Daneliya, and many others.
In her later career Sokolova was most frequently cast as a good-hearted Russian mother, emphasizing her mellow voice and sincere smile. Her "sons" and "daughters" in film were Valeriy Zolotukhin, Irina Miroshnichenko, Margarita Terekhova, Barbara Brylska, Yuriy Solomin, Vitali Solomin, Oleg Yankovskiy, Nikita Mikhalkov, Nikolay Karachentsov, and many other Russian film stars. In 1999, she played the legendary character of Arina Rodionovna, the nanny of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, in a stage performance commemorating the poet's 200th birthday.
Lyubov Sokolova was famous for her unconditioned generosity. In real life she was like a surrogate mother to many less fortunate actors and actresses. She was honored with the title of the People's Artist of the USSR in 1990, and also received numerous awards and decorations. Lyubov Sokolova passed away on June 6, 2001, in Moscow.