Marlene Dietrich is one of Hollywood’s best known leading ladies. Known for her voice, beauty, and incredible style, she ruled the box office in the 1930s and 1940s.
1. Her real name
Marlene Dietrich was born Marie Magdalene Dietrich on December 27, 1901 in Germany.
2. Her original career goals
Dietrich loved music and originally planned to be a professional violinist. She switched over to acting in her teens.
3. She was a fashion icon
She wore what she wanted to, including men’s pants, both on and off screen. This was a radical choice at the time.
4. Not politically correct
Dietrich had a large fur collection, which she loved and wore regularly.
5. She supported the troops
Dietrich sold war bonds and sang for the troops overseas.
Hitler tried to bring her back to Germany, but Dietrich applied for American citizenship and recorded anti-Nazi albums. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her war efforts.
6. She kissed a woman on screen
In the film Morroco, Dietrich kissed a woman. The scene was almost cut from the film, but she managed to persuade them to keep it in.
7. She was BFFs with Mae West
Mae West, another screen siren, was one of Dietrich’s Hollywood friends (she was famously unsociable). West and Dietrich gossiped and joked in Dietrich’s dressing room between scenes.
8. She had a passionate, yet oddly chaste, relationship with Hemingway
Dietrich and Ernest Hemingway met in 1934 and exchanged passionate letters. Oddly, they never slept together, even though Dietrich was known for her many relationships with men and women, which she was unapologetic about.
9. She was distrusted by the FBI
J. Edgar Hoover reportedly distrusted Dietrich and had her followed and tracked. They never found anything interesting, though (besides her love affairs).
10. She lived until 90
Dietrich died of renal failure in Paris in 1992. She asked to be buried in her first home of Germany.