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Top 10 Amazing Facts about Marlene Dietrich


Marlene Dietrich is was well known in Hollywood. She had the voice, phenomenal style, and breath-taking beauty. She made a name for herself for the decade that she was an active actress in Hollywood.

Marlene was the first German-born actress to make it big in Hollywood. She was a dual citizen and worked in America and Germany.

During her time at Hollywood, Marlene was one of the best-paid actresses. She worked as a cabaret artist for several years. 

Here are the top 10 amazing facts about Marlene Dietrich.

1. Marlene Dietrich was a humanitarian

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Marlene was well known for her humanitarian efforts during World War II. She housed German and French exiles, provided financial support and lobbied for their American citizenship.

Her contribution to improving the morale of the soldiers during the war. The United States, France, Belgium and Israel gave her several honorary awards.

 She was the first celebrity to be given the highest honour for a civilian. Subsequently, she was among the first celebrities to entertain American war troops.

2. Marlene Dietrich was a poet and an author

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Dietrich wrote a book of poetry that was published in 2005 by her daughter. The book is titled Night Thoughts.

This poetry book was written on her last days when she was bedridden. Her secretary Norma, published a recollection of decades of phone conversations with Marlene.

She also had a book made of a collection of letters she exchanged with Hemingway. The two knew each other for more than 3 decades.

3. Marlene Dietrich was a talented violinist

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Dietrich never desired to become a screen siren, growing up, she hoped to be a violinist and join an orchestra.

Marlene took up acting after she sustained a hand injury when she was 18.  In 1922, she got her first job playing soundtracks for silent films. Unfortunately, she lost the job because of a wrist injury.

Her big break came with the film The Blue Angel.

4. Marlene Dietrich was suspected to be a German spy

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Despite her efforts in helping the war troops, one man that worked with the FBI suspected Marlene to be a German spy.

The man, Edgar Hoover, ordered that Marlene should be followed and tracked every moment. They also checked her mail. None of the leads was successful.

During her tour in the US between January 1942 and September 1943, she sold more war bonds and visited more than 250,000 troops.

Marlene performed for the Allied troops in Algeria, Italy, UK and France. She was quoted saying she did this out of decency.

5. Marlene Dietrich’s big break was the Blue Angels

In 1930, Marlene moved to the United States and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures.

She was given expensive gifts including a Rolls-Royce Phantom II. The car was featured in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film shot in Morocco.

Marlene featured in six other films that were directed by Von Sternberg at Paramount for five years. Von Sternberg worked together with Marlene to create the image of a mysterious femme fatale.

He coached her and polished her acting skills while improving her physical appearance.

6. Marlene Dietrich worked as a cabaret artist

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In 1953, Marlene got an offer of $30,000 per week to appear live at the Sahara Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

This show was made up of songs associated with her. She would wear a nude evening gown that alluded to transparency. It attracted a lot of publicity.

She employed Burt Bacharach as her musical arranger in the mid-1950s. the two turned her nightclub act into a more theatrical one-woman show.

Marlene sang songs from films she featured in and they became popular. They recorded four albums and several singles between 1957 and 1964.

7. Marlene was not her given name

Her birth name was, Marie Magdalene Dietrich. She went by the nickname Lena which was used by her family.

When she was 11, she combined both names and came up with Marlene. This name stuck and she was known as Marlene until her passing.

8. Marlene Dietrich raised her daughter differently

Marlene was the mother of one daughter Maria Riva. She did not raise her as most parents would.

Instead, Marlene let her come on set with her and she acted like her assistant.  Maria helped arrange flowers, style her mother and autograph fan mail.

9. Marlene Dietrich dressed by herself for herself

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Despite being a style icon, Dietrich did not pay much attention to fashion. She wore whatever made her comfortable.

Marlene wore men’s trousers both onscreen and offscreen. She defied societal norms of how a woman needed to dress.

10. Marlene Dietrich’s first film role was in a silent comedy

Dietrich’s first film debut was in 1923. She played as lady’s maid Kathrin in The Little Napoleon. This silent comedy was directed by George Jacoby.

Marlene spent seven years playing different roles in silent films. Her big break was in the movie Blue Angel in 1930.

Her performance of the song Love Again in the movie became her anthem.