- Lya De Putti
Lya De Putti (Amalia Putty) (
January 10, 1899– November 27, 1931) was a Hungarian film actressof the silent era, noted for her portrayal of vamp characters.
Early Life and Career
Born in Vécse,
Hungary(today Slovakia), she was one of the four children of Julius de Putti, a cavalry officer, and his wife, the former Countess Maria Katarina Hoyos. She had two brothers, Geza and Alexander, and a sister, Mitzi.
She began her stage career on the Hungarian
Vaudevillecircuit. She soon progressed to Berlin, where after performing in the ballet, she made her screen debut in 1918. She became the premiere danseuse at the Berlin Winter Garden in 1924.
Around that time German film director Jol Mai noticed her and cast her in her first important film, "The Mistress of the World". She followed this success with noteworthy performances in "Manon Lescaut" and "Variety". The latter, from 1925, featured her opposite
Emil Jannings. Both films are Ufaproductions. While in Germany De Putti starred with such actors as Conrad Veidt, Alfred Abel, Werner Krauss, Grete Mosheimand Lil Dagoverand was filmed by directors F.W. Murnauand Fritz Lang.
The actress came to America in February 1926. At the time she told reporters she was twenty-two years old. Her ocean liner's records list her as having been twenty-six.
De Putti was generally cast as a vamp character, and often wore her dark hair short, in a style similar to that of
Louise Brooksor Colleen Moore.
De Putti was once rumored to be engaged to Count Ludwig Salm von Hoogstraten, a former husband of the American oil heiress Millicent Rogers. She denied the engagement.
In 1913, she married Zoltán Szepessy, a county magistrate. They divorced in 1918. The couple had two daughters, Ilona (b. 1914) and Judith (b. 1916).
Return to Broadway, Untimely Death
The following year, De Putti went to Hollywood, but found little success there. Despite working with such distinguished actors as
Adolphe Menjouand Zasu Pitts, she failed to make it big, and left the screen by 1929 to attempt to re-start her career on Broadway.
Her Hollywood efforts were inhibited by her foreign accent. Later she went to
Englandto make silent movies and studied the English language. Soon she returned to America to attempt "talkies".
Unfortunately, before she got back on track, she was hospitalized to have a chicken bone removed from her throat, and contracted a throat infection. She was removed to Harbor Sanitarium, 667 Madison Avenue, from her
New York Cityresidence, the Hotel Buckingham.
De Putti got out of bed and eluded her nurses. Eventually she was found in a corridor. She developed
pleurisyin her right side, followed by pneumoniain both lungs. She died in 1931 at the age of 32 in Harbor Sanitorium. She is interred in the Ferncliff Cemeteryin Hartsdale, New York.
*Peter Herzog and Roman Tozzi, "Living Life and Not Fearing Death: The Life of Lya de Putti", Corvin: 1993.
Los Angeles Times, "Film Star Succumbs", November 27, 1931, Page 1.
New York Times, "Lya De Putti Dead Here Of Pneumonia", November 27, 1931, Page 20.
*imdb name|0211048|Lya De Putti
* [http://silent-movies.org/Ladies/PDePutti.html Lya de Putti Photo Gallery] at silent-movies.org
* [http://film.virtual-history.com/person.php?personid=757 Photographs of Lya De Putti]
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