Marlene Dietrich: Life Story and Gorgeous Photos of the Legendary Actress and Style Icon from Her Early Career

Marlene Dietrich was a legendary actress and singer, her career spanned over eight decades. She gave up music and pursued an acting career and made her name. The ‘American Film Institute’ named her the 9th greatest female star of classic Hollywood Cinema. She is remembered for her magnetic charisma, distinctive voice, and unique personal style. Dietrich Carefully curated her image for the cameras, she was dressed as a gentleman many times during her photoshoots. She told the Observer in 1960.

I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.

Acting career

She learned violin in her childhood and performed in the theatres in her teens. Dietrich started her career with silent films, she made her debut with an uncredited role in the German silent movie ‘The Little Napoleon’ in 1923. In 1929, she portrayed the role of ‘Lola Lola’, a night club dancer in the movie ‘The Blue Angel’. The film was a super hit and it helped make Dietrich a star in the United States. After the success of ‘The Blue Angel’, she moved to the United States and got her first role in the movie ‘Morocco’ with Gary Cooper.

A symbol of glamour and elegance, she continuously developed herself both professionally and personally. During the 1930s, she performed in twelve movies and became the highest paying actress. She was asked to return to Germany by the German government, but she turned down the offer. As a result, her films were banned in her native homeland. During World War II she also toured and performed for Allied troops.

Dietrich’s popularity began to decline in the early-1940s. It was the time when film exhibitors labeled her as ‘box office poison’, a title shared by the likes of Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, and Mae West. However, she did not stop there and worked in many high and low-budgeted movies for the next two decades. During the 1960s and 1970s, she also performed in the theaters as a high-profile cabaret dancer. Throughout her long career, she portrayed in more than fifty movies.

End of Dietrich’s legacy

On September 29, 1975, Dietrich fell from the stage, while she was performing in Sydney and broke her thigh. The following year, her husband, Rudolf Sieber, died of cancer. After that, she never recovered and her last film was Just a Gigolo’ in 1979.

Personal life

Marlene Dietrich was only married once but she had an unending string of affairs throughout her career. She had affairs with actors Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Jean Gabin, and many more. Her affair with actor Yul Brynner lasted more than a decade. Dietrich also claimed that she had affairs with George Bernard Shaw, John F. Kennedy, and John Wayne. Her husband also knew about her affairs, she often passed the intimate letters of her lovers with her husband.

She met her husband Rudolf Sieber during the filming of ‘Tragedy of Love’ in 1923 and they married the same year. She had an only child, daughter Maria Elisabeth Sieber.

Marlene Dietrich’s death

Dietrich died on May 7, 1992, in Paris due to renal failure at the age of 90. She was buried next to her mother in Berlin. She was survived by her daughter Maria and her four grandchildren. Her daughter, Maria Elisabeth Sieber, later wrote her biography of her mother.

Net worth

A substantial portion of her estate was sold to Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek on October 24, 1993, while her Manhattan apartment at 993 Park Avenue was sold for $615,000 in 1998.

Here below are some stunning photos of young Marlene Dietrich form her life and career.

#2 Actress Marlene Dietrich at five years of age, 1906.

#5 Marlene Dietrich sitting at a table in the film ‘The Song of Songs’, 1933.

#6 Marlene Dietrich dressed in men’s top hat and tails from the film ‘Morocco’.

#7 Marlene Dietrich with actor Clive Brook in the movie ‘The Blue Angel’, 1930.

#9 Marlene Dietrich wearing an exotic headdress designed by Travis Banton for the film ‘Angel’, 1930.

#10 Marlene Dietrich with Josef von Sternberg in Germany, 1930

#11 Marlene Dietrich in the movie ‘Dishonored’, 1930.

#12 Marlene Dietrich in a scene from the film ‘The Blue Angel’, 1930.

#13 Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in a scene from the film ‘Morocco’, 1930.

#14 Marlene Dietrich with her daughter Maria at the swimming pool of her villa in Hollywood , 1931.

#15 Marlene Dietrich as ‘Lola Lola’ in the movie ‘The Blue Angel’, 1930.

#18 Marlene Dietrich as Marie Kolverer and Victor McLaglen as Colonel Kranau in a scene from the film ‘Dishonoured’, 1931.

#20 Marlene Dietrich casually dressed in shirt and loosened tie, 1932.

#21 Marlene Dietrich as Shanghai Lily in the film ‘Shanghai Express’, 1932.

#22 Marlene Dietrich in the film ‘Shanghai Express’, 1932.

#23 Marlene Dietrich in a scene from the film ‘Shanghai Express’, 1932.

#24 Marlene Dietrich kneeling by a lake smoking a cigarette in a double breasted suit, 1932.

#25 Marlene Dietrich in the melodrama ‘Blonde Venus’, 1932.

#27 Marlene Dietrich from the movie ‘Shanghai Express’, 1932.

#29 Marlene Dietrich in front of the Paramount studio in Hollywood, 1932.

#30 Marlene Dietrich signing autographs at Hollywood Boulevard, 1933.

#32 Marlene Dietrich in Paris with her hsuband, 1933.

#34 Marlene Dietrich communing with a tree in a scene from the film ‘Song Of Songs’, 1933.

#35 Marlene Dietrich in ‘The Scarlet Empress’, 1934.

#36 Marlene Dietrich arrives in New York aboard S.S. Bremen, 1930.

#37 Marlene Dietrich with Reinhold Schuenzel in the movie ‘Der Juxbaron’, 1927.

#38 Marlene Dietrich in a scene from the movie ‘Cafe Elektric’, 1927

#41 Marlene Dietrich with Mistinguett in France, 1930.

#42 Marlene Dietrich wearing a blazer and a hat, 1925.

#43 Marlene Dietrich during a advertising photo shooting for Lincoln, 1922.

#45 Marlene Dietrich from the movie ‘Bridal Dangers’, 1920

#46 Marlene Dietrich at her arrival for the film shooting of “Knight without armour” in Ascot, England, 1920s.

#47 Marlene Dietrich with Michael Wilding in the movie ‘Stage Fright’ 1950.

#48 Marlene Dietrich on the set of Stage Fright, 1950

#50 Marlene Dietrich Dressed As Harem Queen in the movie ‘Kismet’.

#51 Marlene Dietrich with leni Riefenstahl and Anna May at Pierre Ball, 1928.

#52 Marlene Dietrich in evening dress and hat, smiling while sitting at table alone during Pierre Ball.

#55 Marlene Dietrich as Hypatia with Fritz Odemar in Shaw’s play ‘Misalliance’ in the Komoedie. Berlin, 1928

#56 Marlene Dietrich reading a letter in the film The Song of Songs.

#57 Marlene Dietrich making a telephone call to her daughter from her bed in Hollywood., 1930s

#58 Marlene Dietrich with her young daughter Maria Siebe, 1929

#59 Marlene Dietrich in the movie ‘Ship of the Lost People’, 1929.

#60 Marlene Dietrich with Gary Cooper in the movie ‘Morocoo’, 1930

#63 Marlene Dietrich making her Hollywood film debut as the cabaret singer Amy Jolly in the film ‘Morocco’, 1930.

#64 Marlene Dietrich as cabaret singer Amy Jolly in the film ‘Morocco’, 1930.

#65 Marlene Dietrich during the filming of ‘Morocco’, 1930.

#66 Marlene Dietrich in the movie ‘Morocco’, 1930.

#67 Marlene Dietrich poses in a cabaret costume and ostrich feather boa, 1930s.

#69 Marlene Dietrich with a statue created for her film in 1930s.

#70 Marlene Dietrich with American-Austrian film director Josef von Sternberg, 1930s.

#72 Marlene Dietrich attempt to stay upright in a spinning tunnel, 1930.

#73 Marlene Dietrich slumped into a velvet chair, 1930.

#75 Marlene Dietrich as a spy in the movie ‘Dishonoured’, 1931.

Marlene Dietrich as a spy in the movie 'Dishonoured', 1931.

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