Honored Artist of the RSFSR (03/05/1980). People's Artist of the RSFSR (02/07/1986). She grew up in a noisy and always populous Taganka, in a family where work and knowledge were valued. "I got from my parents: fatherly prudence, that is, a real understanding of the moment, but on the other hand, my mother's such intolerance is to do it by all means." The love for the theater was passed on to the daughter from the mother, who in her free time played in the amateur theater of her institute. First, Natalya Gundareva played in a school drama circle, and in the 8th grade she enrolled in a theater at the city Palace of Pioneers. But as an actress, I never considered myself, considering that theater is not for her, it seems, they say, and fun, but she doesn’t inspire much in appearance, so let's be realists. In the 10th grade, she moved to evening school and got a job as a female designer at a design office, preparing to follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a designer. In 1967 she began to take entrance examinations at the IISS and, most likely, would have entered. But as it sometimes happens, the case intervened. Natalya’s friend, Viktor Pavlov, who knew her from the amateur scene and who believed that she had real dramatic talent, persuaded the girl to give up thoughts of a designer’s career and instead go to an actress. In 1967, the competition in the Theater School named after B.V. Shchukin was huge - 250 people in place. Natalia successfully passed the exams and was enrolled in the course of Yu.V. Katina-Yartseva, together with Yu.G. Bogatyryov, N.V. Varley, K.A. Raikin, V.V. Tikhonov. In the second year Natalia Gundareva brilliantly played Domnu Platonovna from Leskova's "Warrior". After that, as they say, the rector of Schukinsky Boris Zakhava exclaimed: "Gundareva has nothing to learn - it's time to go to the stage."