Marlene Dietrich


Actor
Marlene Dietrich

About

Also Known As
Maria Magdalene Dietrich, Maria Magdalena Von Losch
Birth Place
Germany
Born
December 27, 1901
Died
May 06, 1992

Biography

Arguably one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen, actress Marlene Dietrich utilized her cat-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, and halo of blonde curls to capture the imagination of fans both male and female. At once alluring and sexy, Dietrich projected a curious androgyny by casting off societal mores and sometimes dressing as man, wearing trousers, vests and ties. S...

Photos & Videos

A Foreign Affair - Publicity Art
A Foreign Affair - Publicity Stills
Manpower - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Rudolf Sieberwhich
Husband
Actor, farmer. Born in 1897; married from May 17, 1923 until his death in 1976; separated for most of the time they were married; went on to have long-term relationship with Tami Matul.
Willi Forst
Companion
Actor.
Margo Lion
Companion
Actor. Together c. 1928.
Richard Tauber
Companion
Opera singer. Together in 1929.

Bibliography

"Dietrich By Her Daughter"
Maria Riva, Alfred A. Knopf (1993)
"My Life Story"
Marlene Dietrich (1979)
"Marlene: The Life of Marlene Dietrich"
Charles Higham, W.W. Norton & Co. (1977)
"Marlene Dietrich's ABCs"
Marlene Dietrich

Notes

"I have a child and I have made a few people happy. That is all." --Dietrich, assessing her life and career (quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion", 9th edition)

British critic Kenneth Tynan described Dietrich's androgynous image as "sex without gender" (quoted in "The Hollywood Reporter Star Profiles", 1984) He went on to say "She has the bearing of a man; the characters she plays love power and wear trousers. Marlene's masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men."

Biography

Arguably one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen, actress Marlene Dietrich utilized her cat-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, and halo of blonde curls to capture the imagination of fans both male and female. At once alluring and sexy, Dietrich projected a curious androgyny by casting off societal mores and sometimes dressing as man, wearing trousers, vests and ties. She received her start in her native Germany working as a chorus girl and later performer in silent films, where she caught the attention of director Josef von Sternberg, who became both mentor and lover. It was von Sternberg who introduced Dietrich to America in "Morocco" (1930), a bold and rather scandalous debut that featured the actress dressed in a man’s tuxedo and kissing another woman. She went on to star in a number of hit movies with von Sternberg, including "Shanghai Express" (1932) and "The Scarlett Empress" (1934), before the two broke off their professional and personal relationship. Though one of the highest paid actresses of her day, Dietrich nonetheless made a series of flops like "Angel" (1937) and "Knight Without Armor" (1937) that tagged her as box office poison. Meanwhile, she became actively involved in selling war bonds and performing for the troops during World War II. Dietrich’s film career wound down in the 1950s following noted performances in "Witness for the Prosecution" (1957), "Touch of Evil" (1958) and "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961). During this time, she found second life as a stage performer who sold-out houses the world over. But a series of injuries suffered in the mid-1970s forced her retirement while raising charges that she was battling alcoholism. Though she remained in seclusion for the rest of her days, Dietrich left behind a legacy as an alluring screen goddess whose sensual, yet mysterious persona embodied the true definition of movie star.

Born on Dec. 27, 1901 in Schöneberg, Germany, Dietrich was raised with her sister, Elizabeth, in Berlin and Dressau by her father, Louis, a policeman, and her mother, Wilhelmina, a jeweler’s daughter. After her father's death in 1907, her mother remarried his best friend, Edouard von Losch, who later died on the battlefield in World War I. As a child, Dietrich showed promise as a violinist, attending the Hochschule fur Musik following her attendance in all-girls schools for her primary education. But her dreams of becoming a concert violinist were cut short after she suffered a wrist injury. Luckily she was also interested in theater and dance, which led to auditioning for famed stage impresario Max Reinhardt’s school in Berlin, though she failed to earn a place on her first try. Eventually, Dietrich was accepted, but in the meantime she made her stage debut as a chorus girl in 1921. The following year, she made her first film, "So Sind die Manner" ("The Little Napoleon") and landed her first lead, opposite William Dieterle in his directorial debut, "Der Mensche am Wege" ("Man by the Roadside") (1923). It was while working on "Tragödie der Liebe" ("Love Tragedy") (1923) that Dietrich met actor Rudolf Sieberwhich, whom she married later that year. The two had their only child, Maria Sieberwhich – who later changed her name to Maria Riva – in 1924.

Dietrich continued to appear in German films, including the Alexander Korda-directed "Eine DuBarry von Heute" ("A Modern Dubarry") (1926) and "Madame Wunscht keine Kinder" ("Madame Wants No Children") (1926). But despite being married, Dietrich engaged in a seemingly endless string of affairs with both men and women throughout her life. One of the earliest and most beneficial was with Austrian filmmaker, Josef von Sternberg, who had established himself in Hollywood and returned to Germany at the suggestion of actor Emil Jannings to make the country's first sound feature, "Der Blaue Engel" ("The Blue Angel") (1929). Casting the lead role of the sexy cabaret star Lola Lola, who could drive men to the most extreme humiliations in the name of love, proved to be a challenge for von Sternberg until he met Dietrich. If ever an actress and a role were right for one another, this was it. But her screen test failed to impress those working for the director, who dismissed her as commonplace. With the cameras rolling, however, there was nothing common about Dietrich, which von Sternberg recognized immediately and prompted a multi-film collaboration that brought out the best in both actress and director. Meanwhile, "Die Blaue Engel" was an international success and led Paramount Pictures to offer Dietrich a contract in the hopes the actress would be their answer to MGM’s great import, Greta Garbo. By the spring of 1930, she arrived in Hollywood.

The first U.S. film between Dietrich and von Sternberg was "Morocco" (1930), a bold debut that featured the actress as cabaret singer Amy Jolly, an independent woman who dressed as a man, locked lips with a woman and referred to her leading man (Gary Cooper) as her girlfriend. Showcasing the actress' smoldering charisma, made more striking by von Sternberg’s dark-shadowed lighting that brought out her simultaneously alluring and androgynous qualities, "Morocco" was a hit for the studio, netting some $2 million in revenue while firmly establishing Dietrich as an overnight star. The role also earned the actress her only Academy Award nomination of her career. Over the next five years, director and star worked together on what may have been one of the more intriguing collaborations of the Golden Age. Each of their films was manufactured in the studio, despite being set in foreign lands. Von Sternberg, however, used light and shadow to paint visual poetry and conjure an image of a leading lady that was at once alluring and scathing. Whether it was playing a spy dressed in black leather in "Dishonored" (1931) or the glamorous lady of the evening in "Shanghai Express" (1932) or Russian monarch Catherine the Great in "The Scarlett Empress" (1934), Dietrich projected an ineffable allure that turned her into one of the biggest stars of her day. Cultivating a dual appeal, her sultry come-hither eyes basked in heavy makeup and shadow drew in the men, while her penchant for wearing more masculine clothes, including slacks, blazers and ties, made her a hit with women itching for liberation of that kind.

With "The Devil Is a Woman" (1935), a controversial box office flop criticized for its apparent denigration of Spanish people, Dietrich and von Sternberg worked together for the last time. Meanwhile, the delightful Ernst Lubitsch-directed romantic comedy "Desire" (1936) proved a hit and solidified her status as the highest-paid actress in Hollywood before fellow Paramount contract player Carole Lombard usurped her a year later. Dietrich made a smooth segue into her first Technicolor movie, "The Garden of Allah" (1937), a romantic melodrama starring Charles Boyer and produced by David O. Selznick. But her next couple of films, "Angel" (1937) and the notoriously expensive flop "Knight without Armor" (1937), earned the tag of box office poison and led Paramount to buy out the remainder of her contract. Defying the pundits, Dietrich roared back with one of her best performances as the saloon entertainer Frenchy who winkingly crowed "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" in the James Stewart Western, "Destry Rides Again" (1939). But it would be Dietrich’s last brush with her former glamorous glory, which waned in the years prior to World War II despite the actress continuing to make movies. By this time, Dietrich was prolifically engaged in many affairs with famous men and women. Among the many conquests she indulged in over the years were the likes of Gary Cooper, John Wayne, German cabaret singer Margo Lion, George Bernard Shaw, female speedboat racer Marion Carstairs, Yul Brynner, Cuban writer Mercedes de Acosta and President John F. Kennedy. While some affairs lasted decades, others were perfunctory. But almost all were committed while she remained married to Sieberwhich, though the two were long separated by the time of his death in 1976.

Though on top once again, Dietrich – who was put under contract by Universal – made a number of lackluster films, including "Seven Sinners" (1940) and "Pittsburgh" (1942) opposite John Wayne, "Manpower" (1941) with Edward G. Robinson, and "The Lady is Willing" (1942), screwball comedy starring Fred MacMurray. But while her career was flagging, Dietrich was actively involved on the home front with the war effort. A virulent anti-Nazi – reportedly she was disgusted to learn that Adolf Hitler considered her his favorite actress – Dietrich went above and beyond the call of duty, becoming one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds – she went on to sell more than any other star – while going on extended USO tours in 1944-45. Meanwhile, she participated in a series of propaganda broadcasts for the radio that were meant to demoralize enemy troops. When all was done and told, few could point to another celebrity outside of Bob Hope who did more for the boys at war. In 1947, Dietrich was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her efforts, which she considered to be her proudest moment. Following the war, she co-starred opposite Jean Gabin in the unspectacular French crime film "Martin Roumagnac" (1946) before turning in an amusing turn as a gypsy in "Golden Earrings" (1946).

Dietrich went on to deliver an underappreciated performance as a wisecracking and cynical ex-Nazi chanteuse in the Billy Wilder-directed comedy "A Foreign Affair" (1948), one of the director’s more forgotten films. Although she was still a star, Dietrich had become known as "the world's most glamorous grandmother" after her daughter Maria Riva gave birth. Hollywood has never quite known what to do with actresses of a certain age, particularly those whose careers were based on their looks. Unlike her former rival Garbo, who retired in 1941, Dietrich continued to work despite her reputation as difficult. Still commanding hefty paychecks, she appeared in a variety of projects, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s "Stage Fright" (1950) and Fritz Lang’s "Rancho Notorious" (1952). But when Tinseltown failed to provide consistent work, Dietrich turned to the concert stage, spending four years in the mid-‘50s on tour in venues as diverse as Las Vegas hotels and London nightclubs. In fact, her primary source of income came from a long string of stage performances that she continued well into the 1970s, with every increasingly limited onscreen appearances. Her act – which was honed with composer Burt Bacharach – consisted of some of her popular songs, which were sung while wearing elegant gowns, while for the second half of her performance, she would wear a top hat and tails, and sing songs often associated with men.

Despite being a stage sensation, Dietrich appeared sporadically on screen, becoming one of the many performers who made cameo appearances in the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). But her film work was questionable at best, as demonstrated with the rather unimpressive Italian comedy-drama, "The Monte Carlo Story" (1957). Dietrich did offer a nice turn as the stylish title character in "Witness for the Prosecution" (1957), a courtroom drama directed by Billy Wilder that was widely considered one of his best films. She was also terrific in a small role as the fortune-telling brothel madam who advises corrupt cop Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) that his future was all used up in the director’s film noir classic "Touch of Evil" (1958). Meanwhile, director Stanley Kramer tapped her to portray the widow of a German officer in another superb courtroom drama, "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961), which marked the end of a mini-resurgence that offered audiences a last glimpse of the actress in top form. Aside from a cameo appearance as herself in the Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy, "Paris When It Sizzles" (1964), Dietrich failed to grace the screen again until her final appearances in the German-made romance "Just a Gigolo" (1978).

For much of the 1960s and 1970s, Dietrich headlined concert performances around the world, playing everywhere from Moscow to Jerusalem, where she broke the social taboo of singing songs in German while in Israel. In 1960, her tour of Germany met with some derision from her former countrymen who felt that Dietrich had betrayed them during the war. Later in the decade, she enjoyed a spectacular run on Broadway in 1967 and even earned a Special Tony Award for her performance the following year. The show was later recreated for the television special "Marlene Dietrich: I Wish You Love" (CBS, 1973). It was during this time that her health began to deteriorate, exacerbated by increased use of alcohol and painkillers to ease the pain caused by injury. In 1973, Dietrich required skin grafts after falling off the stage in Washington, D.C., while the following year she fractured her leg. During a performance in Australia in 1975, Dietrich fell off the stage and broke her leg, forcing her to retire. Meanwhile, in 1984, Maximilian Schell – who starred with Dietrich in "Judgment at Nuremberg" – made the fascinating documentary "Marlene," in which the actress refused to be photographed, though she consented to recorded interviews. By this time, she was living in virtual seclusion in the Paris apartment where she died on May 6, 1992 at the age of 90.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Entertaining the Troops (1989)
Herself
Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Herself
Marlene (1984)
Herself
Just a Gigolo (1978)
Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
Black Fox (1962)
Narrator
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Madame Bertholt
Touch of Evil (1958)
Tana
The Monte Carlo Story (1957)
Marquise Maria de Crevecoeur
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Christine Vole
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
Owner of Barbary Coast saloon
Rancho Notorious (1952)
Altar Keane
No Highway in the Sky (1951)
Monica Teasdale
Stage Fright (1950)
Charlotte Inwood
Jigsaw (1949)
Nightclub patron
A Foreign Affair (1948)
Erika von Schluetow
Golden Earrings (1947)
Lydia
Martin Roumagnac (1946)
Kismet (1944)
Jamilla
Follow the Boys (1944)
The Lady Is Willing (1942)
Elizabeth [Liza] Madden
Pittsburgh (1942)
Josie ["Hunky"] Winters
The Spoilers (1942)
Cherry Malotte
Manpower (1941)
Fay Duval
The Flame of New Orleans (1941)
[Countess] Claire [Ledux, also known as "Lili"]
Seven Sinners (1940)
Bijou
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Frenchy
Knight Without Armor (1937)
Alexandra [Adraxine, nee Vladinoff]
Angel (1937)
Maria Barker
Desire (1936)
Madeleine de Beaupré
The Garden of Allah (1936)
Domini Enfilden
I Loved a Soldier (1936)
The Devil Is a Woman (1935)
Concha Perez
The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Sophia Frederica/Catherine II
The Song of Songs (1933)
Lily [Czepanek]
Shanghai Express (1932)
Shanghai Lily, [Magdalen]
Blonde Venus (1932)
Helen Faraday [also known as Helen Jones]
Dishonored (1931)
X-27
Morocco (1930)
Amy Jolly
The Blue Angel (1930)
Das Schiff der Verlorenen Menschen (1929)
Die Frau Nach der Man Sich Sehnt (1929)
Prinzessin Olala (1928)
Ich kusse ihre Hand, Madame (1928)
Cafe Electric (1927)
Manon Lescaut (1926)
Madame Wunscht keine Kinder (1926)
The Joyless Street (1925)
Der Mensch Am Wege (1923)
Tragodie der Liebe (1923)

Music (Feature Film)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
Song Performer
Lust, Caution (2007)
Song Performer
Paragraph 175 (2000)
Song Performer ("Falling In Love Again")
Bossa Nova (2000)
Song Performer
Fight Club (1999)
Song Performer
Scenes from a Mall (1991)
Song Performer
Judgment in Berlin (1988)
Song Performer ("Ich Bin Von Kopf Bis Fub Auf Liebe Eingestellt")
Undivided Attention (1987)
Song Performer
Just a Gigolo (1978)
Song Performer
La Jeune Fille assassinee (1975)
Song Performer ("Ich Bin Von Kopf Bis Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt" "Ich Bin Die Fesche Lola")

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Entertaining the Troops (1989)
Other
Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other
Marlene (1984)
Other

Cast (Special)

Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song (2001)
Herself
Marlene Dietrich: I Wish You Love (1973)
Host

Misc. Crew (Short)

Marlene Dietrich (1962)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1921

Stage debut as chorus girl

1922

Screen acting debut in "So Sind die Manner/Napoleon's Kleiner Bruder/Der Kleine Napoleon"

1923

First leading role, opposite William Dieterle in his directorial debut, "Der Mensche am Wege"

1925

Appeared as unbilled extra in G.W. Pabst's "Joyless Street," which starred Asta Nielsen and Greta Garbo

1926

Acted in the German-language film "Manon Lescault"

1929

Had first lead in films in "Die Frau, Nach der Man Sicht Sehnt"

1929

Achieved stardom as Lola Lola in Josef von Sternberg's "Der Blaue Engel/The Blue Angel"

1930

Immigrated to USA (April)

1930

Hollywood debut in English-language version of "The Blue Angel", produced by Paramount but not released till after her second US film, "Morocco", was a smash success

1931

Received sole Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Morocco"

1932

Made "Shanghai Express", the most popular of the seven films she starred in under Josef von Sternberg's direction

1933

First American starring vehicle not directed by von Sternberg, "Song of Songs", helmed by Rouben Mamoulian

1935

Made last film with von Sternberg, "The Devil Is a Woman"

1937

Became American citizen on March 6

1937

Last film under Paramount contract, "Angel"

1938

Voted "box office poison" by motion picture exhibitor's poll, along with Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, Edward Arnold and others

1939

Appeared in popular comeback vehicle, the classic comedy-Western, "Destry Rides Again", opposite James Stewart

1944

Devoted considerable time during WWII to entertaining the troops; traveled throughout north Africa and Europe

1948

Directed by Billy Wilder in "A Foreign Affair"

1950

Collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock on "Stage Fright"

1952

Offered a fine turn in "Rancho Notorious", helmed by Fritz Lang

1956

Was one of the many stars who made cameo appearances in "Around the World in 80 Days"

1957

Reteamed with Billy Wilder on "Witness for the Prosecution"

1958

Offered a memorable cameo as a gypsy fortune teller in "Touch of Evil", directed by Orson Welles

1961

Was featured in the Stanley Kramer-directed film "Judgment at Nuremberg"; first worked with Maximilian Schell

1967

Enjoyed stage triumph on Broadway with one-woman show

1973

Made television debut hosting and starring in the CBS variety special "Marlene Dietrich: I Wish You Love"

1975

Injured in a stage fall in Australia; retired to her home in Paris

1978

Returned to feature films in small role in "Just a Gigolo"

1984

Subject of the documentary "Marlene", directed by Maximilian Schell; refused to appear on camera although she had telephone conversations with Schell

1993

The city of Berlin purchased her personal collection of some 100,000 photographs, diaries, costumes and other pieces of memorabilia, which formed the core of a new museum, itself part of the German Film Archives, to be housed in the European headquarters of Sony; with the help of Sotheby's in New York, Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva, spent almost a year cataloguing her mother's possessions in preparation for the sale

Photo Collections

A Foreign Affair - Publicity Art
A Foreign Affair - Publicity Art
A Foreign Affair - Publicity Stills
A Foreign Affair - Publicity Stills
Manpower - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills taken for Warner Bros' Manpower (1941), starring Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, and George Raft. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Shanghai Express - Movie Posters
Shanghai Express - Movie Posters
Kismet (1944) - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from MGM's Kismet (1944), starring Merlene Dietrich and Ronald Colman. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
A Foreign Affair - Scene Stills
A Foreign Affair - Scene Stills
A Foreign Affair - Lobby Cards
A Foreign Affair - Lobby Cards
A Foreign Affair - Pressbook
A Foreign Affair - Pressbook
Dishonored - Movie Posters
Dishonored - Movie Posters
A Foreign Affair - Movie Posters
A Foreign Affair - Movie Posters
Dishonored - Lobby Cards
Dishonored - Lobby Cards
Dishonored - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Dishonored - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Shanghai Express - Jumbo Lobby Card
Shanghai Express - Jumbo Lobby Card
A Foreign Affair - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
A Foreign Affair - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Witness for the Prosecution - Movie Posters
Witness for the Prosecution - Movie Posters
Blonde Venus - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Blonde Venus - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Judgment at Nuremberg - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), directed by Stanley Kramer. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Song of Songs - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich and Brian Aherne. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Shanghai Express - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Paramount's Shanghai Express (1932), starring Marlene Dietrich. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Devil is a Woman - Marlene Dietrich Publicity Stills
Here are some stills of Marlene Dietrich released by Paramount Pictures to help publicize The Devil is a Woman (1935).
The Scarlett Empress - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Paramount's The Scarlett Empress (1934), starring Marlene Dietrich. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Song of Songs - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill.
The Song of Songs - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Here are a few Jumbo Lobby Cards from Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill. Jumbo Lobby Cards were 14" x 17" borderless posters; they were much less common than standard lobby cards.
The Song of Songs - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at roadshow engagements for Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill.
The Song of Songs - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Paramount's The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich and directed by Rouben Mamoulian.
The Song of Songs - Movie Posters
Here are a few movie posters from Paramount Pictures' The Song of Songs (1933), starring Marlene Dietrich, Brian Aherne, and Lionel Atwill.
Marlene Dietrich - State Express Cigarette Card
This is a small cigarette card of actress Marlene Dietrich. These trading cards were included in Cigarette packs in the 30's and 40's and were collectible items. Customers could even purchase books to organize and collect these cards. State Express was an active Cigarette Card producer, creating a wide range of cards featuring famous people of which film stars were an often popular draw.

Videos

Movie Clip

Destry Rides Again (1939) — (Movie Clip) Trouble Is My Business Now properly on the job and armed, the deputy sheriff and title character Tom (James Stewart) follows up on his initial brawling encounter with the singer-hustler-celebrity of Bottleneck, Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich, Lillian Yarbo her servant) in director George Marshall’s Destry Rides Again, 1939.
Spoilers, The (1942) - You Disappointed Corpse, You! Nome, Alaska, 1900, with escort Bronco (Richard Barthelmess), saloon owner Cherry (Marlene Dietrich) meets boyfriend Roy (John Wayne) at the boat, not expecting pretty Helen (Margaret Lindsay) with her uncle the judge (Harry Carey), as clowny miners Flapjack and Banty (Russell Simpson, George Cleveland) get into trouble, in The Spoilers, 1942, from a Rex Beach novel.
Spoilers, The (1942) - The Only Luck In Poker Evening in the saloon run by shimmering Cherry (Marlene Dietrich) in Nome, Alaska, who chats testily with her mine owner boyfriend Roy (John Wayne), who's just back in town, joined by the new gold commissioner McNamara (Randolph Scott), and trouble, in The Spoilers, 1942.
Angel (1937) - Traveling Is Becoming Quite Complicated Opening from producer-director Ernst Lubitsch, title character Marlene Dietrich on a plane to Paris, Gino Corrado the polite but insistent hotel clerk, then cutting to importuned Brit Melvyn Douglas, then plenty of the famous touch, indirectly introducing Laura Hope Crews, conducting discreet business indoors, in Angel, 1937.
Devil Is A Woman, The (1936) - Where Are All The Pretty Girls? First appearance of Marlene Dietrich (as "Concha"), stalked by masked Antonio (Cesar Romero) at a Spanish carnival, early in director Josef von Sternberg's The Devil Is A Woman, 1936.
Devil Is A Woman, The (1936) - You Lie So Well Blustery policeman Pasqual (Lionel Atwill) attempts to buy Concha (Marlene Dietrich) out of her night club gig, then blows up when he catches her with bull-fighter Morenito (Don Alvarado), in Josef von Sternberg's The Devil Is A Woman, 1936.
Angel (1937) - The Courage To Be Unpopular We’ve only just met Herbert Marshall (through a headline montage) as big British diplomat Barker, on his arrival home, we see he’s married to Marlene Dietrich, whose name hasn’t been revealed throughout the first two reels, then servants Edward Everett Horton and Ernest Cossart resume an earlier conversation, in Ernst Lubitsch’s Angel, 1937.
Angel (1937) - Beginning To Spread Both in Paris on business subtly not explained in Samson Raphaelson’s script, Marlene Dietrich as pseudonymous continental “Mrs. Brown” at the high-class bordello-ish home of the “Grand Duchess,” for whom she is mistaken by English Halton (Melvyn Douglas), their first encounter, in Ernst Lubitsch’s Angel, 1937.
Devil Is A Woman, The (1936) - Better Take Two Spanish policeman and spurned lover Pasqual (Lionel Atwill) recounts to Antonio (Cesar Romero) his second meeting with Concha (Marlene Dietrich), at work in a cigarette factory, in Josef von Sternberg's The Devil Is A Woman, 1936.
Scarlet Empress, The (1934) - About Your Beauty Director Josef von Sternberg consumes expensive sets and costumes as Marlene Dietrich (as Princess Sophia, who will become Catherine The Great) joins her Prussian father (C. Aubrey Smith) and his court meeting John Lodge as the commanding Count Alexei, emissary of her Russian fiancè, The Scarlet Empress, 1934.
Scarlet Empress, The (1934) - If You Come Any Closer I'll Scream Ever outlandish from director Josef von Sternberg, Princes Sophia (Marlene Dietrich), the future Catherine The Great, kicked out of a royal business conference, bumps into her lustful protector Count Alexei (John Lodge) in a barn, in The Scarlet Empress, 1934.
Blue Angel, The (1930) - Feast Your Eyes On Me The first appearance of Marlene Dietrich as "Lola Lola," as Professor Rath (Emil Jannings) seeks her out at the club where she's been corrupting his students, directed by Josef von Sternberg's, at UFA in Berlin, The Blue Angel, 1930.

Trailer

Witness For The Prosecution - (Original Trailer) A British barrister gets caught up in a couple's tangled marital affairs when he defends the husband for murder in Witness for the Prosecution (1957).
No Highway in the Sky - (Original Trailer) An engineer (James Stewart) fights to prove that a new airplane is not safe in No Highway in the Sky (1951) co-starring Marlene Dietrich.
Foreign Affair, A - (Original Trailer) A prim Congresswoman (Jean Arthur) gets caught up in the romantic decadence of post-war Germany. Directed by Billy Wilder.
Morocco - (Original Trailer) Marlene Dietrich plays a nightclub singer who falls hard for a Foreign Legionnaire (Gary Cooper) in her first American film Morocco (1930).
Stage Fright - (Original Trailer) Much Warner Bros.' promotion for star Jane Wyman, as an acting student who goes undercover to prove a singing star killed her husband in Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright, 1950.
Rancho Notorious - (Original Trailer) A cowboy (Arthur Kennedy) infiltrates a bandit hideaway - the Chuck-a-Luck - in search of his girlfriend's killer in Rancho Notorious (1952), Fritz Lang's cult Western featuring Marlene Dietrich in one of her definitive screen portrayals.
Kismet (1944) - (Original Trailer) Ronald Colman in much make-up and Marlene Dietrich in gold, feature in the original trailer for MGM's Technicolor Kismet, 1944, when Bagdad had no "H," and different implications.
Judgment at Nuremberg -- (Original Trailer) Eleven Academy Award nominations went to this all-star Stanley Kramer production Judgment At Nuremberg (1961).
Touch of Evil - (1998 Re-issue Trailer) An Interpol agent risks his wife's life to investigate a crooked sheriff in Touch of Evil (1958), directed by Orson Welles.
Around the World in 80 Days - (Wide Release Trailer) A Victorian gentleman (David Niven) bets that he can beat the world's record for circling the globe in Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

Promo

Family

Louis Erich Otto Dietrich
Father
Policeman. Died in 1907.
Wilhelmina Elisabeth Josephine Dietrich Von Losch
Mother
Dietrich made her last visit to Germany to attend her mother's funeral.
Edouard Von Losch
Step-Father
Died from wounds suffered in WWI.
Elisabeth Dietrich Will
Sister
Born in 1900; with her husband Georg had worked for the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen running a canteen and cinema for German soldiers and SS officers during WWII; embarrassed by her sister's associations, Dietrich later claimed to be an only child, although she reportedly maintained occasional contact with her sibling until her sister's death in 1973.
Maria Elizabeth Sieberwich
Daughter
Actor. Born on december 13, 1924; wrote a biography of her mother in 1992; had four sons with second husband William Riva.
J Michael Riva
Grandson
Production designer. Born in 1948.
Peter Riva
Grandson
Literary agent. Born c. 1950.
Jean-Paul Riva
Grandson
Born c. 1957.
David Riva
Grandson
Born c. 1961.

Companions

Rudolf Sieberwhich
Husband
Actor, farmer. Born in 1897; married from May 17, 1923 until his death in 1976; separated for most of the time they were married; went on to have long-term relationship with Tami Matul.
Willi Forst
Companion
Actor.
Margo Lion
Companion
Actor. Together c. 1928.
Richard Tauber
Companion
Opera singer. Together in 1929.
Josef von Sternberg
Companion
Director. Made seven films with Dietrich between 1929 and 1935.
Gary Cooper
Companion
Actor. Met during filming of "Morocco" (1930); Dietrich was served a writ by Cooper's wife during her divorce proceedings; writ later dropped.
Edith Piaf
Companion
Singer.
Mercedes de Acosta
Companion
Writer.
Maurice Chevalier
Companion
Actor.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr
Companion
Actor, writer.
Jean Gabin
Companion
Actor.
Marion Carstairs
Companion
Speedboat racer. First met in 1937; reportedly had affair around 1939-1940; Dietrich referred to Carstairs as 'The Pirate'; had vitriolic break-up.
Erich Maria Remarque
Companion
Novelist. At time of relationship, Dietrich was reportedly also seeing Marion Carstairs.
John Wayne
Companion
Actor. Had relationship c. 1940.
George S Patton
Companion
US Army general. Reportedly presented her with a pair of pearl-handled revolvers.
Michael Wilding
Companion
Actor. Met during filming of "Stage Fright" (1950).
Yul Brynner
Companion
Actor. Had relationship c. 1951-1955.

Bibliography

"Dietrich By Her Daughter"
Maria Riva, Alfred A. Knopf (1993)
"My Life Story"
Marlene Dietrich (1979)
"Marlene: The Life of Marlene Dietrich"
Charles Higham, W.W. Norton & Co. (1977)
"Marlene Dietrich's ABCs"
Marlene Dietrich
"Marlene Dietrich"
Charles Silver, Pyramid Books

Notes

"I have a child and I have made a few people happy. That is all." --Dietrich, assessing her life and career (quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion", 9th edition)

British critic Kenneth Tynan described Dietrich's androgynous image as "sex without gender" (quoted in "The Hollywood Reporter Star Profiles", 1984) He went on to say "She has the bearing of a man; the characters she plays love power and wear trousers. Marlene's masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men."

Hollywood producer Joe Pasternak urged Paramount to sign Dietrich because she had "the one essential ingredient of international stardom: millions of guys would want to make love to her." (quoted in "The Hollywood Reporter Star Profiles" 1984)

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

She was awarded the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1950.

Promoted from Officer to Commander of the French Legion of Honor (January 1990).

"If she had nothing more than her voice she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless lovliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it." --Ernest Hemingway

"I, personally, preferred the legend," --Marlene Dietrich on her screen persona.

"It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, [I] make love with anyone [I] find attractive." --Marlene Dietrich.

"I'm a queen! I should stay up for a princess?" --comment allegedly made by Dietrich, declining an invitation to meet Britain's Princess Margaret.

"Her name, which begins with a caress, ends with the crack of a whip. Her beauty is the creator of her own hymn of fame." --Jean Cocteau.

"She was a total instrument, accepting my instructions with intelligence, and despite her own doubts, fulfilling my concept of the ultimate female. I dipped her in the melting pot of my imagination, took care that her picture matched my own, immersed her in light, until the chemistry was complete ... " --frequent director Josef von Sternberg.

"She is graciously condescending. She is the motive for all sacrifices and heroic deeds. The acting? She leaves that to her slaves. She never acts. She simply displays her gorgeous body." --Graham Greene.

"Miss Dietrich is a professional -- a professional actress, a professional wardrober and a professional lighting technician." --Alfred Hitchcock.