Brown - Dark
Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Claim to Fame
Back to back Academy Awards for Best Actress for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937)
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Luise Rainer (January 12, 1910 – December 30, 2014) was a German-born Austrian and American film actress. She was the first person to win multiple Academy Awards and the first person to win them consecutively. She was discovered by American studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scouts while acting on stage in Austria and Germany and after appearing in Austrian films.
Her training began in Germany from the age of 16 by leading Austrian stage director Max Reinhardt. After a few years, she became recognized as a "distinguished Berlin stage actress", acting with Reinhardt's Vienna theater ensemble. Critics "raved" about her stage and film acting quality, leading MGM to sign her to a three-year contract and bring her to Hollywood in 1935. A number of filmmakers anticipated she might become another Greta Garbo, MGM's leading female star.
Her first American role was in the film Escapade (1935), which was soon followed with a relatively small part in the musical biopic The Great Ziegfeld (1936). Despite her limited appearances in the film, she "so impressed audiences" that she won the Oscar for Best Actress. For her dramatic telephone scene in the film, she was later dubbed "the Viennese teardrop". In her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced, despite the studio's disagreement, that she could play the part of a poor uncomely Chinese farm wife in The Good Earth, based on Pearl Buck's novel about hardship in China. The subdued character she played was such a dramatic contrast to her previous, vivacious character, that she won another Academy Award.
However, she later said that by winning two consecutive Oscars, "nothing worse could have happened to me," as audience expectations from then on would be too high to fulfill. She was then given parts in a string of unimportant movies, leading MGM and Rainer to become disappointed, and she ended her brief three-year career in films, soon returning to Europe. Adding to her rapid decline, some feel, was the "poor career advice" given her by then husband, playwright Clifford Odets, along with the unexpected death, at age 37, of her producer, Irving Thalberg, whom she greatly admired. Some film historians consider her the "most extreme case of an Oscar victim in Hollywood mythology"
The daughter of Heinrich and Emilie (née Königsberger) Rainer, known familiarly as "Heinz" (died 1956) and "Emmy" (died 1961), Luise was born on Janaury 12, 1910 in Düsseldorf, Germany and raised in Hamburg, Germany, and later in Vienna, Austria. She once told a reporter: "I was born into a world of destruction. The Vienna of my childhood was one of starvation, poverty and revolution." Her father was a businessman who settled in Europe after spending most of his childhood in Texas, where he was sent at the age of six as an orphan. (Rainer has stated that because of her father, she is an American citizen "by birth".) Rainer's family was upper-class and Jewish.:402 A number of leading film references list her birthplace as Vienna.
Biographer Margaret Brenman-Gibson writes that Rainer was a premature baby, born two months early. She had two brothers. Rainer describes her father as "possessive" and "tempestuous", but whose affections and concern centered on her. Luise seemed to him as "eternally absent-minded" and "very different". She remembers his "tyrannical possessiveness", and was saddened to see her mother, "a beautiful pianist, and a woman of warmth and intelligence and deeply in love with her husband, suffering similarly". Although generally shy at home, Luise was "immensely athletic" in school, becoming a champion runner and an "intrepid" mountain-climber. As well as expending her energy in athletics, Rainer stated, "I became an actress only because I had quickly to find some vent for the emotion that inside of me went around and around, never stopping." It was her father's wish that she attend a good finishing school and "marry the right man", she remembers. However, her "rebellious" nature made her appear to be more a "tomboy," while at the same time, "happy to be alone", she feared she was "developing her mother's inferiority complex".
She was only six when she decided to be part of the entertainment world, and recalls being inspired by watching a circus act: "I thought that a man on the wire was marvelous, in his spangles and tights. I wanted to run away and marry him but I never had an opportunity. I am sure, though, that the experience first disclosed to me the entertainment world. For years I longed to be able to walk on a tight wire, too."
At age 16 she chose to follow her dream to become an actress. Under the pretext of visiting her mother, she traveled to Düsseldorf and registered at the Dumont Theater, having prearran
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Emmy Koenigsberger Rainer
Katherine Ann Porter, Charlie Chaplin, Erich Von Stroheim, Erich Maria Remarque, Paulette Goddard, Oona Chaplin
Francesca Knittel-Bowyer (daughter)
Luise Rainer (12 January 1910 – 30 December 2014) was a German and American film actress. She was the first actor to win multiple Academy Awards and the first person to win them consecutively. At the time of her death, she was the longest-lived individual ever to have received an Academy Award.
Place of Death
London, England, UK
Cause of Death
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