Marlene Dietrich

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Marlene Dietrich (German pronunciation: [maɐˈleːnə ˈdiːtʁɪç]; 27 December 1901 – 6 May 1992)[1] was a German actress and singer.

Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself. In 1920s Berlin, she acted on the stage and in silent films. Her performance as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel, directed by Josef von Sternberg, brought her international fame and a contract with Paramount Pictures in the US. Hollywood films such as Shanghai Express and Desire capitalised on her glamour and exotic looks, cementing her stardom and making her one of the highest paid actresses of the era. Dietrich became a US citizen in 1939; during World War II, she was a high-profile frontline entertainer. Although she still made occasional films in the post-war years, Dietrich spent most of the 1950s to the 1970s touring the world as a successful show performer.

In 1999 the American Film Institute named Dietrich the ninth greatest female star of all time.

Contents

Childhood

Dietrich was born Maria Magdalene Dietrich on 27 December 1901 in Schöneberg, a district of Berlin, Germany. She was the younger of two daughters (her sister Elisabeth being a year older) of Louis Erich Otto Dietrich and Wilhelmina Elisabeth Josephine Felsing, who married in December 1898. Dietrich's mother was from a well-to-do Berlin family who owned a clockmaking firm and her father was a police lieutenant. Her father died in 1911. His best friend, Eduard von Losch, an aristocrat first lieutenant in the Grenadiers courted Wilhelmina and eventually married her in 1916, but he died soon after as a result of injuries sustained during World War I.[2] Eduard von Losch never officially adopted the Dietrich children, hence Dietrich's surname was never von Losch, as is sometimes claimed. She was nicknamed "Lena" and "Lene" (pronounced Lay-neh) within the family. Around the age of 11, she contracted her two first names to form the then-novel name of "Marlene".

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