Marlene Dietrich - 100th Birthday celebration

Marlene Dietrich - another of my favourites! ! Although her daughter, Maria Riva, claims her mother was incapable of loving her she still wrote the book Maternal Fame in loving memory of her mother. A century after the birth of the movie icon Christopher Goodwin opened a glamorous family album, even Dietrich once said, "I have been photographed to death! "She also said that her work was the only important thing she as even done in her life. She entertained troops during the Second World War, with merely a tent as a dressing room. After her death every few months her grave in a Berlin cemetery was desecrated by neo-nazis. Right-wing Germans had never forgiven her for her devotion to the allied cause during World War II. One poignant photograph shows Dietrich with fresh carnations at her feet giving her audience an encore of Where Have all the Flowers Gone?In the photo she was looking extremely thin and fragile as she was fighting cancer.

Another photo shows her posing amongst her collection of cabochon emeralds, which were later confiscated by the US Government to settle her bill with the Internal Revenue Service. Her songs were mainly slow and sad - the wartime hits "Lili Marlene... . underneath the lamplight..." , Falling in Love Again, and Auf Wiedersien. She would sing at grand venues such as London's Cafe de Paris or the ordinary Golden Green Hippodrome, which was a theatre (it is now owned by BBC and is used as a recording studio from which Friday Night is Music Night is broadcast live). Her films included The Scarlet Empress, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, Witness for Prosecution and of course the famous Blue Angel. She did not just star in the film; she smouldered on screen. She also appeared in the Hitchcock film, Stage Fright, which starred Richard Todd and Jane Wyman.

Marlene's personal chief, Markus Auer, has destroyed the myth that she was a lonely recluse in her old age. He said Marlene would come to his restaurant (Paris Grenouille Restaurant) disguised as an American tourist with a beehive hairdo in order to eat and exchange stories about old lovers (both men and woman! ) with her great friend Edith Piaf. Markus said that they would spend hours laughing together.

On the eve of what would have been her 100th birthday (27 December 2001), the Germans have finally forgiven her. There is now a Marlene Dietrich Square in the former no-man's land between East and West Berlin and a Marlene Dietrich museum nearby. Finally, celebrating her birthday, there was an exhibition of her personal belongings, including her legendary tailcoat and top hat, plus more that 10,000 photos.

Verinha Ottoni.


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