The Little Napoleon
Tragedy of Love
Man by the Wayside
The Monk from Santarem
Der Sprung ins Leben (aka The Leap Into Life)
Madame Wants No Children
A Modern Dubarry
The Imaginary Baron
Heads Up, Charley
His Greatest Bluff
Dangers of the Engagement Period
I Kiss Your Hand, Madame
The Woman One Longs For
The Ship of Lost Souls
The Song of Songs
The Scarlet Empress
The Devil is a Woman
I Loved a Soldier
The Garden of Allah
Knight Without Armour
Destry Rides Again
The Flame of New Orleans
The Lady Is Willing
Follow the Boys
A Foreign Affair
No Highway in the Sky
The Monte Carlo Story
Witness for the Prosecution
Touch of Evil
Black Fox: The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler
Paris When It Sizzles
Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo
She was only nominated for one Best Actress in a Leading Role Academy Award
Marlene Dietrich: Learn more about her, review her filmography and more
Marie Magdelene Dietrich von Losch (aka Marlene) was born in Berlin, Germany on December 27, 1901. By the time she was in her mid-teens, Marlene had discovered the stage. Her early film career was generally filled with bit roles that never amounted to much.
Dietrich’s career in Germany began to take off in the late 1920s. Making film history, she was cast in Germany’s first talking picture Der Blaue Engel (1930) by Hollywood director Josef von Sternberg. An English language version, The Blue Angel, was also filmed using the same cast. With her sultry good looks and sophisticated manner, Dietrich was a natural for the role of Lola Lola, a nightclub dancer. The film follows the decline of a local professor who gives up everything to have a relationship with her character. A big hit, the film helped make Dietrich a star in the United States.
In April 1930, Dietrich moved to America. Again working with von Sternberg, Dietrich starred in Morocco (1930) with Gary Cooper. She played Amy Jolly, a lounge singer, who gets entangled in a love triangle with a member of the Foreign Legion (Cooper) and a wealthy playboy (Adolphe Menjou). Dietrich received her one and only Academy Award nomination for her role in the film.
Continuing to play the femme fatale, Dietrich challenged accepted notions of femininity. She often wore pants and more masculine fashions on- and off-screen, which added to her unique allure. Dietrich made several more films with von Sternberg, including Dishonored (1931), Shanghai Express (1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934), in which she played Catherine the Great. Their last film together was The Devil Is a Woman (1935). Considered by many to her most ultimate portrayal of a vamp, Dietrich played a cold-hearted temptress who captivates several men during the Spanish revolution.
Dietrich later softened her image somewhat by taking on lighter fare. Starring opposite Jimmy Stewart, she played a saloon gal in western comedy Destry Rides Again (1939). Dietrich also made several films with John Wayne, including Seven Sinners (1940), The Spoilers (1942) and Pittsburgh (1942).
During World War II, Dietrich traveled extensively to entertain the allied troops, singing such songs as “Lili Marlene” and others that would later become staples in her cabaret act. She also worked on war-bond drives and recorded anti-Nazi messages in German for broadcast.
After the war, Dietrich made several more successful films. Two films directed by Billy Wilder, A Foreign Affair (1948) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957) with Tyrone Power, were among the most notable. She also turned in two strong performances in Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).
As her film career faded, Dietrich began a thriving singing career in the mid-1950s. She performed her act around the world, from Las Vegas to Paris, to the delight of her fans. In 1960, Dietrich performed in Germany, her first visit there since before the war. That same year, her autobiography, Dietrich’s ABC, was published.
By the mid-1970s, Dietrich had given up performing. She moved to Paris where she lived out the remainder of her life in near-seclusion. In the mid-1980s, she did provide some commentary for Maximillian Schell’s documentary film on her, Marlene (1984), but she refused to appear on camera.
Dietrich died on May 6, 1992, in her Paris home. After her funeral, she was buried next to her mother in Berlin. Dietrich was survived by her daughter Maria and her four grandchildren. Her daughter later wrote her own biography of her famous mother, Marlene Dietrich, in the mid-1990s.