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The legendary Marlene Dietrich, the
unforgettable interpreter of Lili Marlene
Born Maria Magdelena in Berlin, the
daughter of Edouard von Losch and
Wilelmina Elisabeth Josephine Felsing. Her
real father, Louis Erich Otto Dietrich, a
Royal Prussian officer died when she was
very young. Her family life was
conservative, upper-middle class, and with
her father's military influence, it regarded the
importance of duty and discipline to the
utmost degree. It would be this influence
which would shape her acting career and
her life as a citizen in years to come.
Her first love was the violin and she aspired to
become a concert violinist. Suffering a wrist
injury which made it impossible for her to
continue playing, her dreams were shattered.
Turning to the stage, she appeared in German
cabaret productions and small films. She met
and married Rudie Sieber, a production
assistant on the film Tragedie der Liebe
(Tragedy of Love), in 1924 and the following
year Marlene gave birth to their daughter,
Maria.
She was discovered by Josef von Sternberg
and offered a part in his film "The Blue Angel,"
the first German "talkie." The film became an
international success, and when von
Sternberg returned to Hollywood, Marlene
joined him, leaving behind her husband and
daughter. Her work with von Sternberg was
truly a collaboration where the two
transformed Marlene into a glamorous starlet,
a vision of von Sternberg's ideal woman.
Dietrich's 1937 film, Knight
Without Armour, was made in
London for the Hungarian-
born, Jewish producer
Alexander Korda. In later
interviews, she stated that
she had been approached by
representatives of the Nazi
Party, asking her to return to
Germany, but had turned
them down flat. Dietrich
became an American citizen
in 1939.
Her first American film, Morocco, directed by
von Sternberg, earned Dietrich her only
Oscar nomination.
Dietrich's most lasting contribution to film
history was as the star of a series of six films
directed by von Sternberg at Paramount
between 1930 and 1935: Morocco,
Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde
Venus, The Scarlet Empress, and The Devil
is a Woman.
With her career on the decline, she left
Hollywood for two years and returned to
Europe. In 1939, producer Joe Pasternak
offered her role in the film "Destry Rides
Again" with star James Stewart. A
western, the role transformed her femme
fatale image to that of a leathery saloon
hostess and in effect, resurrected her
career.
Mystery and glamour are the first
things that come to mind when the
name Marlene Dietrich is
mentioned. Working her way from
the German cabaret stage to the
glittering lights of Hollywood
During World War II, she made her
intentions towards the Hitler regime
clear by not only becoming a US citizen,
but also by entertaining USO troops
overseas and giving anti-Nazi
broadcasts in German.
After the war, Marlene continued to appear in
films such as "Golden Earrings," Hitchcock's
"Stagefright" and "Ranco Notorious." Then a
distinction, vastly different than she had
attained in the past occurred when her
daughter Maria gave birth to a son. The media
dubbed her as "the world's most glamorous
Grandmother." In 1950, at the age of 49 she
was photographed by Milton Greene in some
of the most striking photographs of her proving
that she was in fact all the glamorous starlet
she had always been, despite her new title as
Grandmother.
The last notable film Marlene made
was the emotional "Judgment at
Nuremberg" where she played a
wife of a Nazi officer. From then on
she appeared only in a handful of
small roles and regular stage
appearances.
In December 1941, the U.S. entered
World War II, and Dietrich became one
of the first celebrities to raise war bonds.
She entertained troops on the front lines
in a USO revue that included future TV
pioneer Danny Thomas as her opening
act.
She recorded a number of anti-Nazi
records in German for the OSS. She
sang for the Allied troops on the front
lines in Algeria and France, and
went into Germany with Generals
James M. Gavin and George S.
Patton. When asked why she had
done this, in spite of the obvious
danger of being within a few
kilometers of German lines, she
replied, "aus Anstand" — "it was the
decent thing to do."
Dietrich was awarded the Medal
of Freedom by the U.S.
Government for her war work.
She was also made a chevalier
(later commandeur) of the Légion
d'Honneur by the French
government.
Her films roles became fewer and fewer,
but Marlene remained in the public eye by
making stage appearances, notably in
London, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv and
even Berlin..
She spent her last decade
mostly bed-ridden, in her
apartment at no. 12 avenue
Montaigne in Paris, during which
time she was not seen in public
but was a prolific letter-writer and
phone-caller.
Dietrich died peacefully of renal failure on
May 6, 1992, at the age of 90 in Paris. A
service was conducted at La Madeleine in
Paris before 3,500 mourners and a crowd of
well-wishers outside. Her body, covered with
an American flag, was then returned to Berlin
where she was interred at the Städtischer
Friedhof III, Berlin-Schöneberg,
Stubenrauchstraße 43-45, in Friedenau
Cemetery, near her mother's grave and not
far away from the house where she was
born.
On October 24, 1993, the largest portion of her estate
was sold to the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, where
it became the core of the exhibition at the
Filmmuseum Berlin. The collection includes: over
3,000 textile items from the 1920s through the 1990s,
including film and stage costumes as well as over a
thousand items from Dietrich's personal wardrobe;
15,000 photographs, by Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst,
George Hurrell, Lord Snowdon, Eugene Robert
Richee, and Edward Steichen; 300,000 pages of
documents, including correspondence with Burt
Bacharach, Yul Brynner, Maurice Chevalier, Noel
Coward, Jean Gabin, Ernest Hemingway, Karl
Lagerfeld, Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Erich Maria
Remarque, Josef von Sternberg, Orson Welles, and
Billy Wilder; as well as other items like film posters
and sound recordings.
“If she had nothing more than her voice
she could break your heart with it. But
she has that beautiful body and the
timeless loveliness of her face. It makes
no difference how she breaks your heart
if she is there to mend it.”

Ernest Hemingway
Auf Wiedersehen Marlene
Good-Bye Marlene
Aurevoir Marlene
Lili Marlene
Sung by Marlene Dietrich

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Marlene Dietrich

  • 1.
  • 2. The legendary Marlene Dietrich, the unforgettable interpreter of Lili Marlene
  • 3. Born Maria Magdelena in Berlin, the daughter of Edouard von Losch and Wilelmina Elisabeth Josephine Felsing. Her real father, Louis Erich Otto Dietrich, a Royal Prussian officer died when she was very young. Her family life was conservative, upper-middle class, and with her father's military influence, it regarded the importance of duty and discipline to the utmost degree. It would be this influence which would shape her acting career and her life as a citizen in years to come.
  • 4.
  • 5. Her first love was the violin and she aspired to become a concert violinist. Suffering a wrist injury which made it impossible for her to continue playing, her dreams were shattered. Turning to the stage, she appeared in German cabaret productions and small films. She met and married Rudie Sieber, a production assistant on the film Tragedie der Liebe (Tragedy of Love), in 1924 and the following year Marlene gave birth to their daughter, Maria.
  • 6.
  • 7. She was discovered by Josef von Sternberg and offered a part in his film "The Blue Angel," the first German "talkie." The film became an international success, and when von Sternberg returned to Hollywood, Marlene joined him, leaving behind her husband and daughter. Her work with von Sternberg was truly a collaboration where the two transformed Marlene into a glamorous starlet, a vision of von Sternberg's ideal woman.
  • 8. Dietrich's 1937 film, Knight Without Armour, was made in London for the Hungarian- born, Jewish producer Alexander Korda. In later interviews, she stated that she had been approached by representatives of the Nazi Party, asking her to return to Germany, but had turned them down flat. Dietrich became an American citizen in 1939.
  • 9.
  • 10. Her first American film, Morocco, directed by von Sternberg, earned Dietrich her only Oscar nomination. Dietrich's most lasting contribution to film history was as the star of a series of six films directed by von Sternberg at Paramount between 1930 and 1935: Morocco, Dishonored, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, The Scarlet Empress, and The Devil is a Woman.
  • 11.
  • 12. With her career on the decline, she left Hollywood for two years and returned to Europe. In 1939, producer Joe Pasternak offered her role in the film "Destry Rides Again" with star James Stewart. A western, the role transformed her femme fatale image to that of a leathery saloon hostess and in effect, resurrected her career.
  • 13.
  • 14. Mystery and glamour are the first things that come to mind when the name Marlene Dietrich is mentioned. Working her way from the German cabaret stage to the glittering lights of Hollywood
  • 15.
  • 16. During World War II, she made her intentions towards the Hitler regime clear by not only becoming a US citizen, but also by entertaining USO troops overseas and giving anti-Nazi broadcasts in German.
  • 17.
  • 18. After the war, Marlene continued to appear in films such as "Golden Earrings," Hitchcock's "Stagefright" and "Ranco Notorious." Then a distinction, vastly different than she had attained in the past occurred when her daughter Maria gave birth to a son. The media dubbed her as "the world's most glamorous Grandmother." In 1950, at the age of 49 she was photographed by Milton Greene in some of the most striking photographs of her proving that she was in fact all the glamorous starlet she had always been, despite her new title as Grandmother.
  • 19.
  • 20. The last notable film Marlene made was the emotional "Judgment at Nuremberg" where she played a wife of a Nazi officer. From then on she appeared only in a handful of small roles and regular stage appearances.
  • 21.
  • 22. In December 1941, the U.S. entered World War II, and Dietrich became one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds. She entertained troops on the front lines in a USO revue that included future TV pioneer Danny Thomas as her opening act.
  • 23.
  • 24. She recorded a number of anti-Nazi records in German for the OSS. She sang for the Allied troops on the front lines in Algeria and France, and went into Germany with Generals James M. Gavin and George S. Patton. When asked why she had done this, in spite of the obvious danger of being within a few kilometers of German lines, she replied, "aus Anstand" — "it was the decent thing to do."
  • 25.
  • 26. Dietrich was awarded the Medal of Freedom by the U.S. Government for her war work. She was also made a chevalier (later commandeur) of the Légion d'Honneur by the French government.
  • 27.
  • 28. Her films roles became fewer and fewer, but Marlene remained in the public eye by making stage appearances, notably in London, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv and even Berlin..
  • 29.
  • 30. She spent her last decade mostly bed-ridden, in her apartment at no. 12 avenue Montaigne in Paris, during which time she was not seen in public but was a prolific letter-writer and phone-caller.
  • 31.
  • 32. Dietrich died peacefully of renal failure on May 6, 1992, at the age of 90 in Paris. A service was conducted at La Madeleine in Paris before 3,500 mourners and a crowd of well-wishers outside. Her body, covered with an American flag, was then returned to Berlin where she was interred at the Städtischer Friedhof III, Berlin-Schöneberg, Stubenrauchstraße 43-45, in Friedenau Cemetery, near her mother's grave and not far away from the house where she was born.
  • 33.
  • 34. On October 24, 1993, the largest portion of her estate was sold to the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, where it became the core of the exhibition at the Filmmuseum Berlin. The collection includes: over 3,000 textile items from the 1920s through the 1990s, including film and stage costumes as well as over a thousand items from Dietrich's personal wardrobe; 15,000 photographs, by Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, George Hurrell, Lord Snowdon, Eugene Robert Richee, and Edward Steichen; 300,000 pages of documents, including correspondence with Burt Bacharach, Yul Brynner, Maurice Chevalier, Noel Coward, Jean Gabin, Ernest Hemingway, Karl Lagerfeld, Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Erich Maria Remarque, Josef von Sternberg, Orson Welles, and Billy Wilder; as well as other items like film posters and sound recordings.
  • 35.
  • 36. “If she had nothing more than her voice she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless loveliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it.” Ernest Hemingway
  • 37.
  • 38. Auf Wiedersehen Marlene Good-Bye Marlene Aurevoir Marlene
  • 39.
  • 40. Lili Marlene Sung by Marlene Dietrich