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Woman of the Third Reich, Marlene Dietrich


Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich, the magnetic movie star and singer who was an international symbol of glamour and sex for more than half a century, died May 6 1992 at her home in Paris. She was 90 years old. In her personal life, Dietrich was a strong opponent of the Nazi government in Germany. When Hitler came to power she was asked to broadcast Nazi propaganda. She refused and fled to the USA where on January 4, 1941, she became a naturalized American citizen. She had been asked repeatedly to return to Germany by people associated with Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s to make films there, but she turned them down.  As a result, her films were banned in her native land. She made her new country her official home by becoming a U.S. citizen in 1939. During World War II, Dietrich travelled extensively to entertain the allied troops, singing such songs as “Lili Marlene” as well as doing anti-Nazi propaganda broadcasts aimed at German soldiers.and others that would later become staples in her cabaret act. She also worked on war-bond drives

As her film career faded, Dietrich began a thriving singing career in the mid-1950s. She performed her act around the world, from Las Vegas to Paris, to the delight of her fans. In 1960, Dietrich performed in Germany, her first visit there since before the war. She encountered some opposition to her return, but she received a warm reception overall.

 Paris, France --- 5/1945- Paris, France: General George Patton and Marlene Dietrich. Marlene is wearing an army uniform, and Patton is frowning. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS Omar-Bradley-and-Marlene-Dietrich-236x300

By the mid-1970s, Dietrich had given up performing. She moved to Paris where she lived out the remainder of her life in near-seclusion.

   In the mid-1980s, she did provide some audio commentary for Maximillian Schell’s documentary film on her, Marlene (1984), but she refused to appear on camera. After her funeral, she was buried next to her mother in Berlin. Marlene Dietrich was survived by her daughter Maria and her four grandchildren.

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