Elisabeth Bergner

Elisabeth Bergner

Infobox actor
name = Elisabeth Bergner

imagesize =
caption = Elisabeth Bergner, 1935
birthname = Elisabeth Ettel
birthdate = birth date|1897|7|22
location = Drohobycz, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Drogobych, Ukraine
deathdate = Death date and age|1986|5|12|1897|7|2
deathplace = London, England
othername =
yearsactive =
spouse =
homepage =
notable role =
academyawards =
emmyawards =
tonyawards =

Elisabeth Bergner (August 22 1897–May 12 1986) was an actress.

She was born Elisabeth Ettel in Drohobycz, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Drogobych, Ukraine).

She began acting in Innsbruck at the age of 15. In Vienna, she worked as an artist's model, posing for sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck, who fell in love with her. She eventually moved to Munich and then Berlin.

In 1923 she made her film debut in "Der Evangelimann". With the rise of Naziism, Bergner moved to London with director Paul Czinner and they were married in 1933. Her stage work in London included The Boy David (1936) by J.M. Barrie, his last play which he wrote especially for her, and "Escape Me Never" by Margaret Kennedy. "Catherine the Great" was banned in Germany because of the government's racial policies, reported Time magazine (March 26, 1934). She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for "Escape Me Never" (1935). She repeated her stage role of Rosalind, opposite Laurence Olivier's Orlando, in the 1936 film "As You Like It", the first sound film version of Shakespeare's play, and the first sound film of "any" Shakespeare play filmed in England. Ms. Bergner had previously only played the role on the German stage, and several critics found that her accent got in the way of their enjoyment of the film, which was not a success. Throughout, she returned intermittently to the stage, for instance in the title role of John Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi" in 1946.

She temporarily returned to Germany in 1954, where she acted in movies and on the stage; the Berlin district of Steglitz named a city park after her. Later she moved to London, where she died aged 88.

All About Eve

Bergner is considered by several critics to be the inspiration for the character of Margo Channing in Joseph L. Mankiewicz classic film, "All About Eve". Bergner had a true life incident about a real-life would-be Eve Harrington that she recounted to writer Mary Orr (1910 - 2006). Ms. Orr published a piece about the matter for "Cosmopolitan" magazine and named it "The Wisdom of Eve", in which Eve does not get a comeuppance -- as was required by the Hollywood Production Code for the film -- but gets away with everything and is last seen heading to Hollywood with a "thousand dollar a week contract in her pocketbook."


* Anne Jespersen: Toedliche Wahrheit oder raffinierte Taeuschung. "Die Frauen in den Filmen Elisabeth Bergners" in Michael Omasta, Brigitte Mayr, Christian Cargnelli (eds.): "Carl Mayer, Scenarist: Ein Script von ihm war schon ein Film" - "A script by Carl Mayer was already a film". Synema, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-901644-10-5 (German/English)

External links

* [http://film.virtual-history.com/person.php?personid=662 Virtual History - Tobacco cards]
* [http://www.xs4all.nl/~androom/biography/p013553.htm Elisabeth Bergner - Androom Archives]

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