Dietrich, Marlene [Maria Magdalene]
- Patrick O’Connor
(b Weimar, Dec 27, 1901; d Paris, May 6, 1992). American actress and singer of German birth. She studied the violin and piano first in Weimar then later at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, but abandoned a career as a violinist to go on the stage, partly because of a wrist injury. After work as a chorus dancer and playing small parts, she entered Max Reinhardt’s theatre school. In 1928 the composer Mischa Spoliansky cast her in a major role in his musical Es liegt in der Luft, in which she sang her first recorded song, ‘Wenn die beste Freundin’. The following year Spoliansky’s Zwei Kravatten brought her to the attention of the Austrian-American film director Josef von Sternberg who cast her as the cabaret singer Lola-Lola in Der blaue Engel, for which she sang four songs by Friedrich Hollaender, including ‘Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss aus Liebe eingestellt’ (‘Falling in Love Again’). Sternberg made six films with her in Hollywood (...