Marie Magdalene Dietrich, dealing with some eleven years ago gave the name Marlene, was the second child of the Royal Police Lieutenant Louis Erich Otto Dietrich and his wife Wilhelmina Elisabeth Josephine (nee Felsing) in Schöneberg in Berlin today to the world. The first-born sister, Elizabeth was disowned by Marlene during and after the period of National Socialism, strictly, probably because they shared with her husband during World War II near the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp operated by a mainly SS teams visited the cinema. However, Marlene Dietrich helped her sister immediately after the war for the continuation of the cinema with money and while they are in occupation related to them. Even in later years, Elizabeth has been financially supported by Marlene.
After the father died in 1908, his mother married Eduard von Losch 1914 the lieutenant, who died in 1916 after a war injury. To an adoption of two daughters, it has not come. Their first years of life spent in the liver, Marlene Dietrich Strasse 65 (to 1937 Sedanstraße) on the Red so-called Island and attended the Auguste-Viktoria-Schule in Nuremberg street. The family temporarily lived in the Imperial Avenue (now the Federal Allee) in Berlin. Of 13 April 1917 until Easter 1918 Marlene Dietrich visited the Victoria Luise school today (Goethe) High School. She received music lessons and began in 1918 at the Musikhochschule in Weimar, training as a concert violinist. The skills acquired here allowed Marlene later - long since become a movie star - the virtuoso playing of the "singing saw" with whom she used to entertain their colleagues during breaks rotational In 1921 she continued her studies in Berlin the following year but had to cancel because of tendinitis and decided to study theater. At an audition at the Deutsches Theater, she was hired by the famous theatrical manager and director Max Reinhardt for her first stage role, and attended his acting school in Berlin.
1922 Marlene Dietrich worked for the first time in a movie with - in "so the men are" they played under the direction of George Jacoby, one maid. Other minor but supporting film roles followed, However, they denied in later years always and her German stage and film industry zurückstufte to mere extras, secured their participation in system is 16 silent movies before the "Blue Angel". When working on her third film, 'The Tragedy of Love ", directed by Joe May (1923), Marlene met her future husband, Rudolf Sieber (about 1897-1976), a production assistant, with whom she remained married for over 50 years. 1924, on 13 December, the only child, Maria Elisabeth born.
The path to the "Blue Angel"
By mid-to large stage Parts and Filmnebenrollen Dietrich was charged in 1927 with starring roles in film projects. So they engaged the Viennese film producer Sascha Kolowrat Krakowsky Göttlinger as Ernie in "Café Elektric" (directed by Gustav Ucicky), where she was allowed to play alongside the crowd favorite Willi Forst. 1928 Marlene was given a more leading role in the Harry Liedtke film "I Kiss Your Hand, Madame" (Director: Robert Country), the assistant director Fred Zinnemann also years later procured in the U.S. as director international standing.
1929 Marlene Dietrich, then got the role that brought her international breakthrough. The commitment by the Ufa - producer Erich Pommer Austro - US-American film director Josef von Sternberg, who was looking for the female lead actress of the first German sound film production "The Blue Angel" after the novel "Blue Angel" by Heinrich Mann she saw in the Spoliansky - Emperor - revue "Two Ties." His friend and screenwriter Charles Vollmoeller had made him aware of the lead actress Marlene Dietrich. As Sternberg after the visit of the review remained skeptical, Vollmoeller sat through a trial recording date for the Dietrich. "I urged Mr. Sternberg to cast for the starring role Miss Marlene Dietrich, a young actress who was as yet unknown, but who, I believed , had all potentialities of a great star. Mr. von Sternberg respected my opinion about such matters ... "recalls Vollmoeller in his autobiographical notes. This screen test convinced von Sternberg, so he decided to follow the Council Vollmoeller for Dietrich - against favored by Pommer Lucie Mannheim, were equal to the equally well-known actresses Blandine Ebinger, Brigitte Helm, and Kate Haack gathered to sample recordings. Also involved in the revue cast was Hans Albers, Marlene's partner in "Two Ties." On 9 Marlene Dietrich in October 1929 signed the contract, which promised her a flat 20,000 RM, RM 5000 plus for the English-parallel twisted version. By comparison, her fellow actor Emil Jannings as an international star, received a salary of 200,000 marks. The role of Lola Lola initiated by Josef von Sternberg, Marlene Dietrich, but climb to a new world star within a few years, his strong interest in the young Actress fell on Jannings and disliked it very much. The shootings were therefore under tension between Altstar and newcomer, well 30 years later, Marlene Dietrich in an interview with her position in the production team, described this way: "Albers was always nice to me and leaned against Jannings from until the last day of shooting (...) like many who thought the director Sternberg was mad because he hired me. You see, it keeps asking me about my fellow actors at the time, but eventually I was a nobody. A small an actress who was in Reinhardt's various theaters - by bus from a hastily to another - depending speak a sentence in several plays on the same evening, the extras in a few movies made. And believed in no one but me Sternberg's role in 'The Blue Angel was' .... " The song sung by her in the film I am from head to toe is set at love (English: Falling in love again) a worldwide hit. (Music and lyrics: Friedrich Hollaender. See Friedrich Hollander and his Jazz Symphony; Electrola EC 1770 (Matr: BLR 6033-1), 6 February 1930, included in the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin.)
Dietrich followed her director to America and signed with Paramount Pictures. For her role in the film Morocco, she was nominated for the Oscar as best actress of 1930. It was her only Oscar nomination. Over the next few years, created five other shot a total of seven films directed Sternberg. Shanghai Express, 1932, was the most commercially successful Sternberg / Dietrich films. 1935 ended the collaboration with Dietrich von Sternberg. In 1936 she refused an offer Goebbels from 'who turned their high salaries, and free choice for employees and screenplay for films in Germany promised. Dietrich continue turning in the U.S., inter alia, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, Welles and Wilder. In 1939, she also took the U.S. to American citizenship.
Mid-1930s it was declared in addition to Greta Garbo and Katharine Hepburn from the film press the "box-office poison". Her films did not meet expectations at the box office results. Out of the impasse brought her an image change, which they took place in the movie "The Bluff". From the unapproachable goddess, she became abusive to barmaid, the raunchy songs with a smoky voice is the best. Rising reputation it gained in subsequent years through their songs, which she usually sang Spoken ". This includes the song "Lili Marleen" (but known mainly by Lale Andersen was).
Since her time in Paris, she actively supported and financially smugglers'trail artists and emigrants. After her lover, Jean Gabin had volunteered in America with the French liberation forces, burned Marlene Dietrich also be eager to play their part in the fight against Hitler's fascism. She decided if she could not even fight like a man, then at least act as a vocalist for the GI's as close as possible to the front. During the advance to Germany, they wanted to be as early as possible in Germany. During the Battle of the Bulge, they barely escaped the capture. Because of their unconditional solidarity with the struggling "boys" she was one of the most popular and sought-after actresses of the American troops care in Africa and Europe. Later, she summed up, have never had such an intensive contact with their audience.
In Stolberg in Aachen, she was recognized by a German mother and to her great surprise greeted with joy. This unexpected reaction should not remain an isolated case, other women of the village gathered the ingredients for a welcome cake, which they claim was the most delicious meal of her life. Even with the search for their relatives, they had success, they could talk via military radio briefly with her mother and a few weeks later, again in Berlin. Her mother, who had vowed to survive Adolf Hitler, who died in November 1945.
Their political and social commitment against the Nazi regime was internationally much sooner than an appreciation in their home country Germany, which pushed its actions in many incomprehension. Through their actions they had not entered against Hitler, but to many millions of ordinary German soldiers. The concept of "traitor" was (still published) is often discussed. In 1947, Marlene Dietrich, the Medal of Freedom was awarded the highest decoration of the U.S. for civilians. In 1950, the award of the title "Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur" (Knight followed the Legion d'Honneur) by the French government. The French President Pompidou and Mitterrand later transported them for their achievements to the "officer" and finally to the "commander" of the Legion of Honor.
With the beginning of the Cold War, their commitment was increasingly pacifist. The clearest she did this with the song "Tell me, where are the flowers" by Pete Seeger.
From 1953, it was almost exclusively as a singer on the stage and celebrated worldwide success. From 1953 to 1954 she gave the stage shows in Las Vegas at the Sahara Hotel and in London at the Café de Paris. Their musical companion was about ten years from 1955 to Burt Bacharach, who helped her, her image from the nightclub singer into an expressive artist to walk, they no longer appeared in clubs but only in theaters. It developed in the first ten years of her performances her famous "one-woman show". Up to her 75th Years she toured the world. She was the first German artist, who performed after the Second World War in Russia.
For a stir their stage clothes have ensured that as a critic (Who?) "Described the highest achievement of the theater world since the invention of the trapdoor." With the talented and esteemed by her costume designer from Columbia, Jean Louis, she created stunning costumes for their shows. From a specially-made fabric called it "Souffle", which was inked in their skin tone, was sewn in the same section as their secret a tight bodice, floor-length dress. In this dress, she stood for hours in front of a mirror and could be sequins, pearls, or crystal stones Tasseln administer on the dress, which were often placed over fifty times, until the "Dietrich" was satisfied with the visual effect. With tiny red threads were the stones, and pearls on the dress Tasseln marked and embroidered embroiderer or more months, then ten to eleven pounds of the elements. In these clothes, one of which Dietrich has several dozen to make, she was dressed, but still looked naked and as with "star-studded".
Another principle she applied for her "wind dress", which was draped in which the souffle in her bodice, also from Souffle, stitched, and was blown away in long veils by a wind machine to and from their bodies. Similarly, her stage was the production of artful coat, a coat with a three-meter-long train, from chest down of swans that were applied in concentric circles, and so close was like precious white fur. Some newspapers went so in the assumption that it would consist of extraterrestrial material. They always traveled with two of these coats, they had to be shaken before going on stage for five minutes to reach their full volume. It should have left for the 3000 Swan coats her life.
During concerts in Poland, Russia and Israel, she was enthusiastically received. In Israel, her manager forbade expressly recite songs with German lyrics. Nevertheless, she resisted his order spontaneously: "I do not sing a song in German - but nine!". First, the audience was shocked, but then broke the ice and they applauded her moves, impressed by her courage and her honesty. Thus it was also the first singer who could sing in Israel German texts on the stage.
On a European tour in 1960 she went back to Germany and Berlin. As she herself said, her audience in Germany excited about her show. However, they arrived in Germany not only on a friendly audience, but saw himself as a supposed "homeland traitor" and hostile parts of the public and the press exposed.
In Dusseldorf, she was spat upon by a young girl on a stage, someone threw an egg and hit her head. She refused, however, firmly, "to be driven from a blonde Nazi from the stage," the "thrower" was nearly lynched by the theater audience and had been under protection from the theater will be. In an interview after the incident they responded to the question of whether they were afraid of an attack, laconically: "Afraid? No, I'm not afraid. Not the Germans, only to my swan coat from the eggs or tomatoes, I would hardly figure out spots for which I am concerned. "Your injury whether this hostility, they carefully concealed, and then everything was not on a trip to Germany, let alone to move to gigs. In 1961 she made her last big film, "The Case of Nuremberg", which refers to the Nuremberg trials and one of the key issues of the postwar era: what have you known her? She speaks as an actress texts whose truth she was not convinced. (Reference?) In her last role the Dietrich refuted the opinion that it was only moderately talented as an actress who could play no emotional outbursts, and earned great acclaim for her performance, of her almost an Oscar for her role in "Witness for the Prosecution" earned, in which she played a dual role.
1962 Marlene Dietrich appeared in Dusseldorf at the UNICEF-on Gala. Baden-Baden in 1963 was followed by a performance at the German Song Festival.
As Marlene occurred in 1964 in Warsaw, Congress Hall, while she accompanied the Polish musician Czeslaw Niemen with the group Niebiesko-Czarni. Marlene listened while his song "Czy mnie jeszcze pamietasz," which she liked so well that they soon recorded their own version ( "Mom, you have forgiven me").
With Hildegard Knef bound them for decades an almost motherly friendship. Marlene Dietrich became increasingly alcohol problems and ended her stage career after a femoral neck fracture during a performance in Australia in 1975. Three years later, she last appeared for the film Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (1979) - and Others alongside David Bowie - before the camera. After the shooting, they pulled back completely from public life and lived retired in her Paris apartment in the Avenue Montaigne, 12, whose bed it in the last eleven years left until her death any more. Her daughter, Mary cared for her here now addicted to alcohol and pills addicted mother, who fetched using a specially designed gripper arms all things, which they had placed around her bed. It employed a secretary and a maid and had often provide cooked food for them from a German specialty restaurant. Except for the employees and their close family, no one was allowed into her apartment. She kept with the "big world" phone, and contact with friends and her family, she phoned up to thirty times a day, especially her daughter. The phone was the only connection to the outside of Dietrich, who took over this medium but still a major influence on their environment.
Years later she agreed to participate in a documentary about himself. The director Maximilian Schell won the approval of Marlene Dietrich, filming them. Shortly before filming began, she moved back to this consent, however, and only allow tape recordings. As Schell them during the interview about this, she said: "I've been photographed to death ..." (I've been photographed too often ...). Schell, confronted with the failure of his presentation of the project, decided to make the movie as a collage, and backed the tape recordings with photos and clips from Dietrich's films. The film ends with the recitation of the poem "The Love duration" of Ferdinand Freiligrath, the Dietrich moved to tears. The film Marlene (1984) was nominated for best documentary for an Oscar and has won several European awards.
After 1963 her first book titled ABC appeared in my life, was published in her 1979 autobiography, "Take only my life. In 1987, a slightly modified version of this autobiography was published with the title I am, thank God, a Berliner. The Dietrich asked her daughter Maria Riva: "Write a book about me. Only you can do it. The whole truth. But only after my death. "
Death and hesitant recognition in her hometown
Marlene Dietrich died in Paris in 1992 - officially - in heart and kidney failure. Marlene Dietrich's secretary and friend, Norma Bosquet, which she attended in the last weeks of their lives almost daily in her Paris apartment, said that the actress had probably taken an overdose of sleeping pills life, after she had two days earlier suffered a second stroke . Marlene Dietrich was after a large funeral in Paris, in Berlin, with high participation of the population in the III. Simple Stubenrauchstraße Municipal Cemetery in a grave near the gravesite of her mother buried.
In the days after her death, she was only in a few as "Vaterlandsverräterin" controversial. EditorAdd writer and actress Evelyn Künneke criticize them, a planned memorial service will - officially called off for organizational reasons -. Still in Berlin 1996, there were controversies over the naming of a street after her.
The Berlin district of Tiergarten reported their 1997's central square, between Potsdamer newly constructed Square arcade, Hotel Grand Hyatt and Musical Theater / Casino named Marlene-Dietrich-Platz. The dedication reads: "Berlin's international star of film and chansons. Defense of freedom and democracy, for Berlin and Germany ". On her 100th Birthday in 2001, apologized to the State of Berlin is officially the enmities. Posthumously, she received on 16 May 2002, the honorary citizenship of Berlin (still under heavy criticism from parts of the Berlin population).
Dietrich had an androgynous charisma, felt by the men and women alike dressed. She often appeared in men's clothing, which was revolutionary for its time. In the Paris of the '30s you should be barred from entering the city center in male attire, which naturally could not be sustained. They also made him an idol of the women's movement between the two world wars and a gay icon. Kenneth Tynan, one of her friends, wrote about her: "You had sex but no sex." (She has sex but no positive gender.)