BORN 2 Dec 1909, Rheinscheidt (near Düren) - DIED 13 Apr 1955, München|
REAL NAME Schmitz, Sybille Maria Christina
GRAVE LOCATION München, Bayern: Ostfriedhof (166b-U-32 (ashes))
Sybille Schmitz grew up in Cologne where she went to trading school when she was fourteen. She took a job to enable her to take acting lessons and the famous actress Louise Dumont allowed her to enter the acting school in Cologne in the middle of a semester. But after a short time she stopped her studies because she wanted to experience the theatre world in practice. She went to Berlin where she was engaged at the Kammerspiele of the Deutschen Theater. From 1928 onwards she played small parts there.
She also appeared in movies. In 1932 she attracted attention with her part in Carl Theodor Dreyers movie "Vampire". Her next movie "F.P.1 antwortet nicht" (1932, with Hans Albers) made her famous. During the mid thirties she was one of the leading actresses in Germany. She lived for a few years with director Frank Wysbar. He was an alcoholic and she started to consume more alcohol herself as well.
After the nazi's came to power it became harder for her to find parts that suited her, allthough "Tanz auf dem Vulkan" (1938) was in that category. She had married the author Harald G. Petersson and they full lived in Krimml, Austria after his house in Berlin was bombed. In 1943 she played in "Titanic", but that movie was forbidden by the nazi's and again in 1950 by the allies.
She was still offered well paid parts, but artistically she didn't like them. She started to play in small theaters. One of them was the atelier theatre of Beate von Molo. She started an affair with Beate that - together with her heavy drinking - resulted in a separation from Petersonn.
In 1953 she fell seriously ill and was treated by Dr. Ursula Moritz and her housekeeper Klara Schweikhardt. They controlled her life and decided who had access to her. She became even more dependent on alcohol and drugs and sold whatever she had to pay for them. Olga Tschechowa offered her a free treatment by her company to help her restore her looks, but she refused because she considered herself beyond help.
In 1955 she ended her life by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. She died in a hospital in Munich and Olga Tschechowa, Winnie Markus, Rudolf Vogel, and Erich Pommer were all at her funeral. Petersson wasn't. Dr. Moritz was put on trial for her part in Sybille's death, but she was acquitted. Fassbinder based his "Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss" (1981) on the last part of her life.
was the lover of Molo, Beate von
Scheibmayr, Erich, Letzte Heimat, Persönlichkeiten in Münchner Friedhöfen 1784-1984, Scheibmayr Verlag, München, 1985
Porträt der Schauspielerin Sybille Schmitz by Thomas Staedeli