( b. Oct 26, 1916 - d. Oct 16, 2009 ) Female
Natasha Rawson died peacefully at home on October 16, 2009, 10 days before her 93rd birthday. She was born in Shanghai, China, where her Russian parents, George Victor and Ludmila de Renkule Synnerberg, resided. Natasha was educated on three continents, studying art in France and music in California. In her teens, she excelled in art and had a daily fashion sketch in the English/Chinese newspaper in Shanghai.
In 1934, at age 18, Natasha traveled to New York City, where she continued commercial fashion art for the newspapers. In New York, Natasha's extraordinary beauty was noticed, and she received offers to model and auditions for Broadway plays. Talented, fluent in many languages including Russian, French and English, Natasha had starring roles in three Broadway plays, performing with acting greats Ethel Merman, Ronald Coleman, Jack Buchanan, and Lupe Vélez. As a John Powers model, she appeared in Life Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and Vogue (often on the covers) and on billboards across the US. She sang and performed at the Plaza Hotel, and took ballet classes with famed Russian choreographer George Balanchine, co-founder and balletmaster of the New York City Ballet.
While in New York, Natasha met and married Texan William Branton Rawson. Soon after their marriage, the young couple moved to Houston, where Natasha became involved in the arts painting portraits, playing the piano, and singing. She studied painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and was a private pupil of world-celebrated court painter Boleslaw Czedekowski. Her pastels, charcoals and oils are included in numerous private collections. As a mezzo-soprano, she sang leading roles with Boris Goldovsky and the Houston Grand Opera, gave song recitals, and was a featured soloist with Leopold Stokowski conducting.
In 1955, Natasha organized a gathering in her home, which led to the formation of the Houston Foundation for Ballet, which today has a successful professional company The Houston Ballet.
Through a continuous intensive study of the Bible, she produced seven paintings representing the divine view, and taught Bible classes in Houston. Her research into beliefs, cultures and religions led to her book, published in 1981, Search for Truth.
Source: Houston Chronicle obit.