Durieux, Tilla

BORN 18 Aug 1880, Wien - DIED 21 Jan 1971, Berlin
REAL NAME Godeffroy, Ottilie
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Friedhof Heerstrasse, Trahkener Allee 1, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (Feld 5-C-4 (Ehrengrab))

Daughter of Richard Godeffroy, a University professor in chemistry and a Hungarian pianist. Because they didn't support her acting career, she took the name of her french grandmother. She made her debut in 1902 in Olmütz. From 1903 to 1933 she performed in Berlin, starting out as a member of Reinhardt's ensemble (until 1912). In 1912 she played the Circe in Calderon's comedy of the same name. In 1913 she played Frank Wedekind's Lulu in Munich. Durieux was the first to perform Oscar Wilde's Salome on the stage and also the first Eliza Doolittle in Shaw's "Pygmalion". In 1914 she made her film debut in the silent movie "Der Flug in die Sonne".

In 1904 she married the painter Eugen Spiro, but she divorced him in the same year. In 1910 she married Paul Cassirer, an art dealer. He tried to kill himself after their marriage failed and died as a result of this attempt in 1926.

In 1927 she worked with Erwin Piscator to realize the theatre at the Nollendorfplatz in Berlin. In 1930 she married theatre director Ludwig Katzenellenbogen, generaldirektor of Schultheiß-Patzenhofer.

In 1933 she didn't return to Germany after a tour abroad with Basserman. She went to Switserland and settled in Zagreb in 1934. In 1936 and 1937 she lectured at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and in 1936 she started a hotel in Abbazia, Yugoslavia. In 1941 her jewish husband was arrested after the Germans entered Yugoslavia and he died two years later in a concentration camp in Berlin. Tilla joined the Yogoslavian partisans and also started writing about her life.

From 1945 to 1951 she was assistant director and seamstress at a puppet theatre in Zagreb and in 1954 her memoirs were published: "Eine Tür steht offen".

She returned to Berlin in 1954 and returned to the stage in Ionesco's "Stühlen" and many other pieces. In 1959 she became a Honorary Member of the German Academy for Performing Arts and in 1961 a member of the Academy of Arts. Her last engagement was in 1969/1970 at the Wiesbadener Staatstheater.

Franz von Stuck painted her as Circe (c.1912/1913). P.A. Renoir (1914) and Arnold Rechberg also painted her portrait. She owned the painting "Girl with Ruffled Hair" by Vincent van Gogh.

• Husband: Cassirer, Paul (1910-)

Related persons
• admired Gaul, August
• was painted by Kokoschka, Oskar
• knew Neumann, Hertha
• cooperated with Piscator, Erwin
• visited Rumpf, Fritz
• was painted by Stuck, Franz von

6/12/1906Premiere of Shaw's "Mensch und Übermensch" at Der Komödie in Berlin. It was directed by Rudolf Bernauer. The actors were Lucie Höflich, Paul Wegener, Victor Arnold, Paul Biensfeldt, Tilla Durieux, Alexander Ekert, Bernhard von Jacobi, Emilie Kurz, Jacob Tiedtke and Hedwig Wangel. The play was cancelled after ten performances. [Höflich, Lucie][Wegener, Paul]
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][Dietrich, Marlene][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 Tilla Durieux at the Friedhof Heerstrasse, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (13 Aug 2000)


The graves of Tilla Durieux and Paul Cassirer at Friedhof Heerstrasse, Berlin.
Picture by androom (25 Aug 2006)


Baedeker Berlin, Baedeker Verlag, Stuttgart, 1994
• Hammer, Klaus, Historische Friedhöfe & Grabmäler in Berlin, Stattbuch Verlag, Berlin, 1994
• Schöne, Günter, Bühnenstars, Florian Noetzel, Wilhelmshaven, 1998
• Weschenfelder, Klaus e.a., Spiel und Sinnlichkeit, Franz von Stuck 1863-1928, Klaus Weschenfelder, Koblenz, 1998

Duse, Eleonora

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 07 Sep 2021