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Marlene Dietrich

Life and Legend

2011
Author:

Steven Bach

Marlene Dietrich

A celebration of the life and times of one of the greatest female stars of all time

Steven Bach reveals the fascinating woman behind the myth surrounding Marlene Dietrich in a biography that will stand as the ultimate authority on a singular star. Based on six years of research and hundreds of interviews, this is the life story of one of the century’s greatest actresses, an icon who embodied glamour and sophistication for audiences around the globe.

The finest picture-star biography I have read.

Peter Bogdanovich, Los Angeles Times

From the stages of Berlin to anti-Nazi efforts and silver-screen stardom, Steven Bach reveals the fascinating woman behind the myth surrounding Marlene Dietrich in a biography that will stand as the ultimate authority on a singular star.

Based on six years of research and hundreds of interviews—including conversations with Dietrich—this is the life story of one of the century’s greatest movie actresses and performers, an icon who embodied glamour and sophistication for audiences around the globe.

Marlene Dietrich

Steven Bach (1938–2009) taught American literature before becoming a film producer and head of production for United Artists. He was involved with dozens of films, including Sleuth, Manhattan, Raging Bull, and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He wrote the critically acclaimed best seller Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of “Heaven’s Gate.”

Marlene Dietrich

The finest picture-star biography I have read.

Peter Bogdanovich, Los Angeles Times

Dietrich will never have a more meticulous, eloquent, or sympathetic biographer.

Times Literary Supplement

If you open it to the right pages in the right mood, you can practically hear the applause still ringing.

New York Times Book Review

What a star biography should be but rarely is.

Choice

This massive, admiring biography refutes the notion that Marlene Dietrich's femme fatale image was wholly the invention of director Josef von Sternberg. Bach, a film producer and author of Final Cut, who studied with von Sternberg, portrays the latter as a megalomaniac whose amorous frustrations with the star he had created drove him to maintain that she was a puppet who danced to his strings. Bach rejects the standard comparisons with Garbo as he plumbs Dietrich's special blend of erotic power, irony, and humor and limns a strong-willed woman whose innumerable sexual affairs satisfied a simple need for companionship. . . . This engrossing biography is especially good on Dietrich's early career, her valiant anti-Nazi efforts, and her phoenixlike rebirth as a troubadour-actress.

Publishers Weekly

A biography that, for once, is a joy to read.

David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee

Very interesting material in the body of the book.

Dave Wood

Steven Bach's well-researched biography explores every lush detail of screen legend Dietrich's life.

Blogcritics.org

Steven Bach has produced the best and - at over 600 pages - the most in-depth, best-researched of all Dietrich biographies.

Scarlet

Marlene Dietrich

A Note from the Author
OVERTURE
A Visit to the Theater: 1929
I. BERLIN
One. Beginnings: 1901–1918
Two. Weimar and Back: 1919–1921
Three. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: 1922–1927
Four. The Perfect Couple: 1923–1929
Five. Breakthrough: 1928–1929
Six. The Blue Angel: 1929
II. HOLLYWOOD
Seven. Fame: 1930–1931
Eight. Empress of Desire: 1931–1932
Nine. Apotheosis: 1933–1934
Ten. Tribute and Farewell: 1934–1935
Eleven. Saving Dietrich: 1935–1936
Twelve. Exile: 1937–1939
Thirteen. Phoenix: 1939–1941
Fourteen. Home Front: 1942–1943
Fifteen. Lili Marlene: 1944–1945
Sixteen. Survivor: 1946–1947
Seventeen. Pro: 1947–1950
Eighteen. Star Quality: 1950–1952
III. LEGEND
Nineteen. Solo: 1952–1954
Twenty. Back in Business: 1954–1958
Twenty-one. Helen of Troy: 1954–1958
Twenty-two. Odyssey: 1960–1967
Twenty-three. “Queen of the World”: 1967–1975
Twenty-four. Monstre Sacré: 1976–1982
IV. EXIT MUSIC
Coda: “Allein in Einer Grossen Stadt”: 1983–1992
Appendix A. Theater Chronology
Appendix B. Filmography
Appendix C. Discography
Acknowledgments
Source Notes
Bibliography
Index