LGBT People Of History Part Twenty Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich Singing Lili Marlene
Marlene Dietrich is quite simply a legend. We do not say was because legends do not die!
She was born in 1901 in Berlin. As a child, she was a violinist but as a she injured her hand she had to give it up. She spent a lot of the 1920s in the flourishing LGBT and club scene in Berlin and in film studios landing roles in various movies and theatres. She married her husband, Rudolf Sieber, in 1923 and they had a daughter, Maria, in 1924. Even at this point in her life she was developing her ‘androgynous’ look for which she would become famous – dressing often in men’s clothes.
She became the archetypal drag king.
Her big breakthrough came with ‘The Blue Angel’ in 1930. The film was directed by Josef von Sternberg and featured Dietrich as a sultry cabaret star with a deep voice singing her most famous song ‘Falling in Love Again.’ From there she moved to the US and many successful movies followed such as ‘Shanghai Express.’ Von Sternberg was strict director and a master of lighting which enhanced Dietrich’s mysterious reputation. Whilst in England around 1936, some Nazi officials approached her with lucrative offers to return to Germany. She refused and became an American Citizen in 1939.
She became ‘box office poison’ and her comeback movie was ‘Destry Rides Again’ with James Stewart. She then had other roles in movies for the likes of Hitchcock and Welles.
A staunch anti-Nazi, she spent WW2 raising money for war bonds and entertaining the Allied troops. She also recorded some of her most famous songs (eg ‘Lili Marleen’) in order to demoralise the enemy soldiers. She was awarded both the US Medal of Freedom and the French Legion d’honneur. She appeared in the powerful movie ‘Judgement at Nuremberg’ along with many other movie legends.
After the war she had many dates and concerts throughout the world. Many said her persona and charisma transcended her music. Her return to Germany in 1960 divided the country – some loved her for it, some didn’t. She survived cervical cancer but became addicted to painkillers and alcohol.
Marlene was bisexual and behind the carefully cultivated image had many affairs with men and with women. James Stewart, Jean Gabin, Mercedes de Acosta and Yul Brynner were amongst her lovers. It was said she had flings with Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Edith Piaf, George Bernard Shaw and John F Kennedy.
She died in 1992 in Paris and is interred in Berlin, where her grave is a place of homage.
Callum and Ian.
With Thanks To Wikipedia and Allabouthistory.com
The Twentieth In The Series
To Mark our 'Twentieth LGBT People Of History Hub' Both Ian and I decided that we were going to do Marlene at some point, but we knew that we had to bring you some one really special to commemorate number twenty. so we have brought you an icon and diva of the twentieth century 'Marlene Dietrich' to round off the first twenty hubs that Ian and I have both wrote together.
We wish to thank all of you who have read the first twenty and are following our series and hope that you enjoy reading our future ones that will soon be coming your way, as much as we have enjoyed writing them.
Thank you so much to all of you, and we hope you have enjoyed reading Marlene.
Callum (Calpol25) & Ian (Alian346)
Here Are The Links To Our Many Other LGBT People Of History Series
- LGBT People Of History Collection
Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.
- LGBT People Of History Part Ten Oscar Wilde
Born 16th October 1854 in Dublin, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was the son of two intellectuals of Dublin and from an early age was fluent in both French and German. He showed wit and high intelligence from a very early age. Oscar...
- LGBT People of History 11 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a famous Russian composer. Some say his music is simplistic, childlike and raucous. We think it is full of emotion and passion. He was born in 1840 and was actually trained for the Civil Service. However he managed to...
- LGBT People Of History Part Twelve Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugene Marcel Proust was born in Auteuil near Paris in 1871. He suffered asthma for almost the entirety of his life. Partly because of this he was bullied at school. However he did manage to serve for a year in the French...
- LGBT People of History 13 - Diaghilev and Nijinsky
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872 – 1929) was a Russian impresario who founded the Ballet Russe and took the world by storm in the early twentieth century.
- LGBT People Of History Part Fourteen W.H Auden
Born Wystan Hugh Auden in February of 1907 in the city of York, England. He was the son of a professional middle class family. They later moved to Birmingham in England which was a big industrial city, where Auden grew up.
- LGBT People of History 15 - Jean Cocteau
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (1889 – 1963) was a person of contradictions and a leading light in the avant-garde artistic movement in France in the early part of the twentieth century. He counted the likes of Picasso, Modigliani, Proust, Jean
- LGBT People Of History Part Sixteen Jane Addams
Born on September 6th 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois, into a large family was Jane Addams.Addams attended Rockford Female Seminary in Illinois graduating with a collegiate certificate in 1881. She had big dreams of being a doctor and helping the poor,
- LGBT People of History 17 - Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall
Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall (1880 – 1943) was born in England. Her parents were distant and she had a lonely childhood. She described herself as a ‘congenital invert’.She was a lesbian and had many affairs and relationships during her life.
- LGBT People Of History Part Eighteen Sappho Of Lesbos
Sappho was an intellectual and a poet and believed to have been aristocracy. It is believed that she was born in 610 BCE on the Greek island of Lesbos. The word Lesbian originates from this island and it is believed that Sappho was also a Lesbian, as
- LGBT People from History 19 - Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas
Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) was an American poet, writer and collector of art. She moved around a lot in early life before studying at Radcliffe College and Johns Hopkins Medical School.