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October 2003 - Nr. 10


The Editor
To the Editor
Antje berichtet
Vienna Connection
Zurich Connection
Toronto Connection
Letzte Kraftanstrengung
KW and Beyond
Filmfest Stories
With Anton Kuerti
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Herwig Wandschneider
German-American Day
Stephen Harper Statement
Essay Contest
Old German Tradition
President Rau's Message
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
TSO & Lars Vogt on Piano
TSO: Composer Wanted
TSO - Boris Berezovsky
Dietrich & the Phone
Wins "Golden Shell"
Reubens Returned
Financial Advice
Frauenkirche Unveiled

Marlene Dietrich
- a telephonaholic?

  TWIG - Marlene Dietrich could talk your ear off. At least that is what a new book suggests, the details of which shed light on the relationships and late-night calling addiction of Germany’s most famous actress.

Interest in Marlene Dietrich has not waned in the decade since her death. Fans worldwide will remember that she is a notorious caller and will delight in her weathered and dog-eared address books, one of which is being published in a 320-page commented edition by the Transit publishing house in Berlin. It promises to chronicle a lifetime of hobnobbing with Hollywood’s finest.

The book, compiled and edited by author Christine Fischer-Defoy, is more than just a commentated facsimile. The author complements notable entries in the address book with scandalous yarns from Dietrich’s heyday in Hollywood and short sketches of the actress’s relationships with some of the most powerful of the 20th century international jet set. Just one of the actress’s several address books, it spans the period between the 1950’s and the late 1970’s.

But perhaps the strangest aspect of the book is Dietrich’s uncanny organisational system, which forgoes the standard alphabetization of usual address books. In it, names are entered in sections according to city or country in a nonsensical system where Italy is found under W, South America under U, Germany and Berlin under D. Orson Wells has an entry, as does Charlie Chaplin. The little black books are veritable treasure troves of Dietrich’s connections, from fleeting acquaintances to lovers and film industry contacts.

Alone in Paris, Dietrich would talk on the phone all night long and call French radio stations to give her opinion on running programs. Shortly before her death in 1991, she called a German television station and expressed her hope that the film studios in Babelsberg would rise to the position they had when she was a star on the silver screen, some 70 years before.

Lili Marleen’s habit of telephoning late into the night — be it to ask for advice, schmooze with lovers, or commiserate with confidantes — increased steadily with her age. Her white telephone — on permanent exhibit at the Marlene Dietrich Museum in Berlin — is worn, hastily repaired, and practically falling apart from decades of use.



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