Dietrich. Still famous years after her death.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to chat a bit more about “the legend.”
A week ago we ran an picture and article about the legendary Marlene and it elicited this response from a reader Aileen Crane:
Dietrich went on to deliver an under appreciated performance as a wisecracking and cynical ex-Nazi chanteuse in the Billy Wilder-directed comedy “A Foreign Affair” (1948), one of the director’s more forgotten films.
Although she was still a star, Dietrich had become known as “the world’s most glamorous grandmother” after her daughter Maria Riva gave birth.
Hollywood has never quite known what to do with actresses of a certain age, particularly those whose careers were based on their looks. Unlike her former rival (Greta) Garbo, who retired in 1941, Dietrich continued to work despite her reputation as (being) difficult.
Still commanding hefty paychecks, she appeared in a variety of projects, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s “Stage Fright” (1950) and Fritz Lang’s “Rancho Notorious” (1952). But when Tinseltown failed to provide consistent work, Dietrich turned to the concert stage, spending four years in the mid-’50s on tour in venues as diverse as Las Vegas hotels and London nightclubs.
In fact, her primary source of income came from a long string of stage performances that she continued well into the 1970s, with increasingly limited onscreen appearances. Her act – which was honed with composer Burt Bacharach – consisted of some of her popular songs, which were sung while wearing elegant gowns, while for the second half of her performance, she would wear a top hat and tails, and sing songs often associated with men.
Thanks Aileen. Nice summary of Marlene’s final years.
Our photo above features Dietrich with our pal Patricia Williamson. The shot was taken at Los Angeles’ Union Station as Marlene was leaving on a tour to sell War Bonds. Pat wasn’t the only one wishing her a “Bon Voyage.” Naturally, Dietrich had a military escort.
In 1943 Pat, then Patricia Nanette Hawkins, fresh out of high school, had been signed up by the Standard Oil Company of California to be a “Chevronette.” These young women were part of the company’s war effort.
Pat, (who was born on St Patrick’s day when her mother had to leave a production of No, No, Nanette) and a few other girls were set up in a booth in downtown L.A., and every afternoon at 4:30 a movie star would arrive to help sell war bonds and stamps.
Fresh-faced Pat and the other “Chevronettes” were photographed with stars and other dignitaries, and the pictures were circulated nationwide.