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Lillian Harvey

Picture Lillian Harvey
Foto: Alexander Binder (1888-1929)

1906 - 1968

The actress Lillian Harvey was born as Lilian Helen Muriel Pape in London-Hornsey. Her family took up residence at Berlin in 1914, Lillian Harvey was sent to Switzerland during the war time where she lived with her aunt. 
After her return to Berlin she attended a ballet school at the Staatsoper Berlin in 1923 and was soon on the way with first tours through Europe.

During a performance at the Ronacher theater she was spotted for the film business. Her first movie was "Der Fluch" (24), after that director Richard Eichber (1888-1953) signed her on. Under his directioon she played for the first time a leading role in "Liebe und Trompetenblasen" (25), one year later she acted at Willy Fritsch's "Die keusche Susanne" (26) for the first time - an anticipation of the future German dream team.

Lillian Harvey appeared in the following years in the movies "Die tolle Lola" (27), "Eine Nacht in London" (28), "Ihr dunkler Punkt" (28) and "Adieu, Mascotte" (29).

With the rise of the sound film her career even experienced more impetus. Thanks to her hard work and her talent, which also comprised dance and singing besides her acting, she rose to the "sweetest girl of the world", who knew how twist the audience round her little finger.
Lillian Harvey erected a monument to herself with the successful productions "Liebeswalzer" (30), "Hokuspokus" (30) "Die Drei von der Tankstelle" (30), "Der Kongress tanzt" (31), "Quick" (32), "Ein blonder Traum" (32) and "Ich und die Kaiserin" (33) within shortest time.

She signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1932 and went to the USA one year later. She appeared in the movies "My Lips Betray - Meine Lippen lügen nicht" (33), "My Weakness" (33), "I Am Suzanne - Ich bin Susanne" (33) and "Let's Live Tonight - Leise kommt das Glück bei Dir" (35), but she wasn't able to go on from her successes in Germany.
In 1935 she returned to Germany and signed a contract with the Ufa. Her private partner Paul Martin direct many of these movies.
Her last great successes in Germany are "Glückskinder" (36), "Sieben Ohrfeigen" (37), "Fanny Elssler" (37), "Capriccio" (39) and "Frau am Steuer" (39).

The political turbulences of the 30's also left its mark on the great Lillian Harvey. She spoke for the choreographer Jens Keith and finally helped him to escape to Switzerland. As a result Lillian Harvey was interrogated by the Gestapo.
Although she invested the main part of her fortune into real estates she decided - also because she was a British citizen - to emigrate to France in 1939. There she took financial part in her last two movies "Serenade" (40) and "Miquette" (40), but the movies weren't successful.During this time she became dispossessed in Germany and lost the bulk of her wealth.

During the war time she got involved in the tropps care in France, but when the threat also grew in France, she went via Portugal to the USA where she worked for the Red Cross. She generally refused all film offers - most of them were small support roles. Instead of this she frequently appeared on stage. In 1946 she returned to Europe again.
In her private life she became acquainted with the theater director Hartvig Valeur-Larsen. They got married but the marriage was only lasting for four years. Eventually her secretary Else-Pitty Wirth became her partner.

Her later parts at the theater weren't very successful and Lillian Harvey retired from the film and theater business.

Other movies with Lillian Harvey:
Die Motorbraut (24) Leidenschaft (25) Die Kleine vom Bummel (25) Prinzessin Trulala (26) Vater werden ist nicht schwer (26) Eheferien (27) Du sollst nicht stehlen (27) Wenn Du einmal Dein Herz verschenkst (29) Einbrecher (30) Nie wieder Liebe! (31) Zwei Herzen und ein Schlag (32) Invitation to the Waltz (35) Schwarze Rosen (35) Ins blaue Leben (39)