Dietrich and Berlin • Der Boulevard der Stars
Marlene Dietrich and Berlin did not always get along well together. She was born in Schöneberg when it was still a separate town, not a part of Berlin as it is today. For many years after that she grew up and worked in Berlin. Things went relatively well – until Adolf Hitler and his Nazis took over in Germany in 1933.
|Dietrich’s Berlin Star
On Feb. 12, 2010 Dietrich was honored with a star on Berlin’s new Boulevard of Stars. See our GW Blog: Marlene Dietrich stars in Berlin. See more about the Boulevard below.
Dietrich had recently had her first great film success starring as Lola Lola in the German production The Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel, 1930), filmed in both German and English versions. She and director Josef von Sternberg had gone to Hollywood, where they were enjoying even more success as the Nazis came to power in Germany. Dietrich became a US citizen in 1939, the year that World War II began.
Even though the Nazi government tried to get her to return to Germany, Dietrich adamantly refused to have anything to do with the Third Reich. And that was the beginning of her falling out with her fellow Germans. (More about that in Part 1.)
Over the years, Dietrich’s hometown and the Germans have come to terms with the German-American actress. It only took 65 years (since the end of WWII), but finally in 2010 Berlin has reached the point where the city (and the Deutsche Kinemathek film museum) can bestow the honor upon Marlene Dietrich of giving her the very first star on the new Boulevard of Stars.
In conjunction with the 60th Berlinale film festival, during ceremonies on Friday, February 12, 2010, the first star on the Boulevard of Stars (der Boulevard der Stars) was unveiled before a large cadre of cameras and reporters. Later that day, the Berlin evening news TV broadcast on RBB showed the ceremony with various dignitaries honoring Dietrich. (See the photo at the top of this page.)
Although the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin is obviously an imitation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Berlin version features a few added attractions that the 50-year-old original lacks. Red-colored asphalt evokes the typical Hollywood red carpet (rather than the terrazzo tile on the Walk of Fame). Columns with special “ghost cameras” will dot the completed Boulevard of Stars, allowing film fans to take a picture with a ghostly image of their favorite film/TV stars and filmmakers.
Unlike the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Boulevard of Stars is devoted only to German-speaking film and TV people – those featured here at the German-Hollywood Connection! The Berlin walk of fame will honor actors, directors, and other people from Austria, Germany, and German Switzerland involved in cinema and/or television. Most of these people will be unknown to people from non-German-speaking countries. For example, people like Thomas Gottschalk, Germany’s best-known TV personality (“Wetten, dass...”), can walk around in Los Angeles without being recognized (which is why he has a second home there!). In Germany he would be mobbed by fans – who would instantly recognize him.
But many of the people to be featured on the Boulevard of Stars are or were international stars and filmmakers like Dietrich, her director Josef von Sternberg, Hollywood cameraman Michael Ballhaus, director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day), actor/director Paul Henreid (Casablanca), actor Peter Lorre, Romy Schneider, director Billy Wilder, director Fritz Lang, director Wolfgang Petersen (Air Force One, Perfect Storm), Armin Müller-Stahl, Arnold Schwarzenegger, composer Hans Zimmer, and others.
BLOG > Marlene Dietrich stars in Berlin - My blog entry on this topic
WEB > Boulevard der Stars - The official Boulevard of Stars website (in German)
MORE > German-Hollywood Connections
- GW Expat Blog: Marlene Dietrich stars in Berlin
- Marlene Dietrich Filmography
- Marlene Dietrich Biography
- Billy Wilder and Dietrich were good friends in Hollywood. She made two films with the Austrian-born director.
- Famous German Movies - Films from Germany have made their mark on world cinema—and influenced Hollywood
- The Berlinale - Germany's biggest film festival takes place in Berlin.
- Germans (and Others) in Hollywood - About the three main waves of Germanic immigration to Hollywood
- Berlin City Guide - Sights, history
- German Cinema - From the German Way book
- Famous Germans, Austrians and Swiss
- Famous Graves - The graves and cemeteries of the famous
MORE > German-Hollywood Connections
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