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Erich von Stroheim

Erich von Stroheim

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The Great Gabbo DVD "The Great Gabbo" (1929) is a fascinating tale of madness and obsession. Erich... more info $6.98was $6.98 Buy Now

Crimson Romance DVD "Crimson Romance" (1934) follows a pair of German-American friends who head back... more info $6.98was $6.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Erich Oswald Stroheim, Erich Oswald Hans Carl Maria Stroheim, Count Erich Von Stroheim, Eric Von Stroheim, Count Von Stroheim Died: May 12, 1957
Born: September 22, 1885 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Austria Profession: director, actor, screenwriter, production manager, contract writer, assistant director, technical advisor, tourist guide, stableman (New York National Guard), waiter, package wrapper

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Costumed in tailored military uniforms accessorized with gleaming medals, Austrian émigré Erich von Stroheim became known to American filmgoers during the silent era for his icy portrayals of pre-World War II German soldiers. Arriving in Hollywood in 1914 with a fabricated autobiography of nobility and military honor, von Stroheim gained entry into the film industry as a technical advisor and horseman. Later an assistant for D. W. Griffith, von Stroheim brokered a deal, agreeing to work for free for the chance to direct his first film. "Blind Husbands" (1919) was a hit despite von Stroheim's insistence on expensive location photography. His spendthrift habits would ultimately cost him control of his films, with his nine-hour "Greed" (1924) reduced to two and "The Wedding March" (1928) shut down after nine months. Fired by star Gloria Swanson during the shooting of "Queen Kelly" (1929), von Stroheim was considered unemployable as a director and returned to the life of a jobbing actor. Using his sinister mien to good effect in such quickies as "The Crime of Dr. Crespi" (1935) and "The Great Flamarion" (1945), von Stroheim contributed vivid supporting performances to Billy Wilder's "Five Graves to...

Costumed in tailored military uniforms accessorized with gleaming medals, Austrian émigré Erich von Stroheim became known to American filmgoers during the silent era for his icy portrayals of pre-World War II German soldiers. Arriving in Hollywood in 1914 with a fabricated autobiography of nobility and military honor, von Stroheim gained entry into the film industry as a technical advisor and horseman. Later an assistant for D. W. Griffith, von Stroheim brokered a deal, agreeing to work for free for the chance to direct his first film. "Blind Husbands" (1919) was a hit despite von Stroheim's insistence on expensive location photography. His spendthrift habits would ultimately cost him control of his films, with his nine-hour "Greed" (1924) reduced to two and "The Wedding March" (1928) shut down after nine months. Fired by star Gloria Swanson during the shooting of "Queen Kelly" (1929), von Stroheim was considered unemployable as a director and returned to the life of a jobbing actor. Using his sinister mien to good effect in such quickies as "The Crime of Dr. Crespi" (1935) and "The Great Flamarion" (1945), von Stroheim contributed vivid supporting performances to Billy Wilder's "Five Graves to Cairo" (1943) and "Sunset Blvd." (1950), the latter reuniting him with Swanson for an acidic meditation of the dark side of the silver screen. Despite an Academy Award nomination, von Stroheim's greater glory was already behind him. Cancer took his life in May 1957, robbing moviegoers of one of its most unique visionaries and an unforgettable film presence.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Hello, Sister! (1933) Dir of initial period
2.
  The Wedding March (1928) Director
3.
  Queen Kelly (1928) Director
4.
  The Merry Widow (1925) Director
5.
  Greed (1925) Director
6.
  Merry-Go-Round (1923) Addl dir
7.
  Foolish Wives (1922) Director
8.
  The Devil's Passkey (1920) Director
9.
  Blind Husbands (1919) Director
10.
  Less Than the Dust (1916) Assistant Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Napoleon (1955) Beethoven
2.
 Sunset Blvd. (1950) Max Von Mayerling
3.
 The Mask of Diijon (1946) Diijon
4.
 The Great Flamarion (1945) The Great Flamarion
5.
 Scotland Yard Investigator (1945) Carl Hoffmeyer
6.
 The Lady and the Monster (1944) Professor Franz Mueller
7.
 Storm Over Lisbon (1944) Deresco
8.
 Five Graves to Cairo (1943) Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
9.
 The North Star (1943) Dr. von Harden
10.
 So Ends Our Night (1941) Brenner
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Served briefly in the Austrian cavalry at 17; managed father's straw hat manufacturing factory
1909:
Arrived in America; worked as salesman, clerk, short story writer, railroad worker and travel agent
1912:
Wrote first play, "In the Morning"
1914:
Initial film work as an extra in "Captain McLean" and
1915:
First screen credit in "Farewell to Thee"
1916:
Debut as assistant director, "Intolerance"; also acted
1919:
First film as director, star, and screenwriter in "Blind Husbands/The Pinnacle")
1919:
Signed contract with Universal
1919:
Starred as villain in "The Heart of Humanity"
1922:
Fired from "Merry-Go-Round" by Irving Thalberg
:
Hired by Goldwyn Company early 1920s
1923:
Fired from "Greed" by Irving Thalberg, the production head of newly-formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer who then hired Rex Ingram to recut the film
1929:
Fired from "Queen Kelly" by Joseph Kennedy
1932:
Sound film co-directing debut with "Walking Down Broadway" (co-screenwriter; re-directed by Alfred Werker, re-edited and re-titled "Hello, Sister;" no directorial credit; original prints no longer exist)
1934:
Attempted suicide (Christmas)
1935:
Hired as contract writer at MGM
1936:
Quit MGM
1941:
Made only stage play appearance in "Arsenic and Old Lace"
:
Moved to and worked as actor in France; briefly returned to USA to appear in "Sunset Boulevard" (1950)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"The public at large is not as spiritually poor as the producers imagine. It wants to be shown life as real as it actually is for people: harsh, unexpected, hopeless, fatalistic. I intend to tailor my films in the rough fabric of human conflicts. Because to make films with the regularity of a sausage machine forces you to make them neither better nor worse than a string of sausages."--von Stroheim, in 1925

Given the Legion of Honor by French government for his services to film art in 1957.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Margaret Knox. Married from February 19, 1913 until her death in 1915; American socialite; born c. 1879.
wife:
Mae Jones. Seamstress. Worked for Griffith company; married in 1916; divorced in 1918.
wife:
Valerie Germonprez. Actor. Appeared in "Heart of Humanity" with Stroheim; burned during a 1933 beauty salon explosion; separated from Stroheim in 1945 but never divorced; died at age 91 on October 22, 1988.
companion:
Denise Vernac. Actor. Together from late 1930s until Stroheim's death.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Benno Stroheim. Hat salesman, milliner. Jewish; from Gleiwitz in Prussian Silesia; settled in Vienna.
mother:
Johanna Bondy. Jewish.
brother:
Bruno Stroheim. Younger.
son:
Erich von Stroheim Jr. Born on August 25, 1916; died on October 26, 1968; mother, Mae Jones.
son:
Josef Stroheim. Born on September 18, 1922; mother, Valerie Germonprez.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Paprika"
"Les Feux de la St. Jean"
"Les Feux de la St. Jean"
"Poto-Poto"
"Hollywood Scapegoat: The Biography of Erich von Stroheim" Fortune Press
"The Man You Love to Hate"
"Stroheim" University of Kentucky Press
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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