Dietrich, Marlene

BORN 27 Dec 1901, Berlin: Sedanstraße 53 (now Leberstraße) - DIED 6 May 1992, Paris: 12 Avenue Montaigne
BIRTH NAME Losch, Maria Magdalena von
CAUSE OF DEATH kidney and liver failure
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Dritte Schöneberger Friedhof, Stubenrauchstraße 43-45 (34-363)

Marlene Dietrich was the second daughter of the police officer Louis Dietrich and his wife Wilhelmine Dietrich-Felsing. In 1907 her father died and soon her mother married Edouard von Losch, a military officer who died during the First World War.

She went to the Auguste Victoria School for Girls in Berlin and from 1918 until 1921 she was educated as a violinist in Weimar. She continued her education at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, but she broke off her studies because of illness. In 1921 she auditioned for the Max Reinhardt Drama School and in 1922 she had her first part in "Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung", staged by Max Reinhardt.

On 17 May 1923 she married assistent director Rudolf Sieber and she played her first small movie parts. On 12 Dec 1924 her daughter Maria was born. Husband and wife soon entered into other relationships, but they never officially divorced. Marlene had affairs with both men and women.

In 1930 she starred in "Der Blaue Engel" (directed by Josef von Starnberg) and this movie turned her into a celebrity. She soon left for the USA, where she signed a contract for seven years with Paramount. In "Morocco" she wore men's clothes and many women followed her.

In 1936 Joseph Goebbels offered her 200.000 Reichsmark and free choice of a director if she would return to Germany to make a movie. She refused and continued making movies in the USA. In 1937 she visited Germany for the last time during the nazi era and once more she refused to appear in German movies. On 9 Jun 1939 she became an American citizen.

During the war she performed or American troops in Italy, France and Africa. She also participated in radio broadcasts that were directed against Germany. After the war she received the Medal of Freedom in the USA and the Légion d'Honneur in France. She was able to locate her mother after the war and sent her care packages, but she from heart failure on 6 Nov 1945.

In 1950 she starred in "Stage Fright" by Alfred Hitchcock. She also returned to the stage and in 1960 she toured in Germany and Israel. In Germany the was enthousiastically received by her fans, but many other Germans saw her as a traitor.

In 1961 she played the widow of an executed German general in "Judgement at Nuremberg", directed by Stanley Kramer. She toured in Russia in 1964. On 29 Sep 1975 she broke her leg in Sydney, Australia.

From 1976 onwards she lived in Paris. In that year her husband died in the USA and her song writer Friedrich Holländer, who had written the music for "Der Blaue Engel", died in München. To the surprise of everybody she broke her retirement in 1978 to appear in the movie "Just a Gigolo". It meant two days of work in Paris, for which she was paid $250.000. She had to make a short appearance as Baroness von Semering, manager of a group of gigolo's in Berlin after the First World War. There were doubts that she was still able to sing the title song, but she did so in one take.

During the last twelve years of her life she hardly left her appartment. Although she was still able to walk she stayed in bed, keeping in touch with other people by telephone.

Related persons
• cooperated with Albers, Hans
• was the lover of Forst, Willi
• knew Harvey, Lilian
• cooperated with Holländer, Friedrich
• had a love affair with Jaray, Hans
• was a friend of Piaf, Édith

28/3/1929Performance of Frank Wedekind's "Der Marquis von Keith" in honour of the recently deceased Albert Steinrück. It took place at the Schauspielhaus at the Gendarmemarkt in Belrin. Director was Leopold Jessner and Heinrich Mann speeched. Among the participating actors were Heinrich George, Werner Krauss, Carola Neher, Tilla Durieux, Jakob Tiedtke, Conrad Veidt, Max Pallenberg, Elisabeth Bergner, Paul Wegener, Hans Albers, Käthe Dorsch and Veit Harlan. [Albers, Hans][Bergner, Elisabeth][Brausewetter, Hans][Durieux, Tilla][George, Heinrich][Goetz, Curt][Harlan, Veit][Körber, Hilde][Kortner, Fritz][Krauss, Werner][Mann, Heinrich][Pallenberg, Max][Steinrück, Albert][Veidt, Conrad][Wedekind, Frank][Wedekind, Tilly][Wegener, Paul]


The grave of Marlene Dietrich at the Dritte Schöneberger Friedhof, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (15 Nov 2004)


Dieulafoy, Paul Georges

Published: 01 Oct 2006
Last update: 03 Jan 2022