Durieux, Tilla

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

Tilla Durieux was the daughter of Richard Godeffroy, a University professor in chemistry. Her mother was the Hungarian pianist Adelheid Hrdlicka. Her father died in 1895. She took acting lessons in Vienna and because her mother didn't support her acting career, she took the name of her French grandmother.

Durieux debuted in 1902 in Olmütz and performed in Breslau. From 1903 to 1933 she performed in Berlin, starting out as a member of Max 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 1903 she married the painter Eugen Spiro, but she divorced him in 1905 after she fell in love with the art dealer Paul Cassirer. She married Cassierer in 1910. After Tilla filed for divorce he atttempted suicide and he died as a result of the attempt in 1926. In 1930 she married the businessman Ludwig Katzenellenbogen (1877-1944), who was generaldirektor of Schultheiß-Patzenhofer.

In 1927 she worked with Erwin Piscator to realize the theatre at the Nollendorfplatz in Berlin. After a tour abroad with Albert Bassserman she didn't return to Germany in 1933 where the nazis had come to power. She went to Switserland before with her husband an they 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 Katzenellenbogen was arrested in Greece and he was deported to Sachsenhausen. He died in 1944 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 also 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 Staatstheater in Wiesbaden.

Franz von Stuck painted her as Circe (c.1913). She was also painted by Olaf Gulbransson (1907), Max Slevogt (as Salome, 1907), Lovis Corinth (1908, as a Spanish dancer), Oskar Kokoschka (1910), Pierre Auguste Renoir (1914), Arnold Rechberg and several others. Durieux owned the painting "Girl with Ruffled Hair" by Vincent van Gogh.

• Husband: Cassirer, Paul (1910-1926)

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)


• 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
Tilla Durieux – Wikipedia

Duse, Eleonora

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Jun 2022