Today in History: Marlene Dietrich passed away in 1992
25 years ago today, German actress and singer, Marlene Dietrich died in Paris, France. Dietrich enjoyed a long career spanning from the 1910s to the 1980s. She gained international fame for her role as Lola-Lola in the movie “The Blue Angel” in 1930 and starred in such Hollywood films as “Morocco” (1930), “Shanghai Express” (1932) and “Desire” (1936).
51 years ago today, Hollywood actor, director and producer Buster Keaton passed away at the age of 70 in Los Angeles, California. Keaton was best known for his comic performance in silent films during the 1920s. His films “The General” (1926) and “The Cameraman” (1928) remain among the most highly regarded films of all times.
Today is the birthday of American actress, model and sex-symbol, Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson). A supporting role in the film “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950) marked Monroe’s breakthrough in Hollywood. Films like “Niagara” (1953), “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), and “Some Like It Hot” (1959) made her to one of the most successful movie stars of the 1950s.Monroe was found dead from a drug overdose on August 5, 1962 in her home in Brentwood, California. She was 36 years old.
80 years ago today, Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” premiered in the United States. Chaplin himself wrote and directed the movie and starred as the main character. The film was banned in Germany and Italy for its alleged communist tendencies.
125 years ago today, the ground-breaking film director and screenwriter Friedrich Christian Anton “Fritz” Lang was born in Vienna. In the 1920s, Lang made film history with silent movies like “Nibelungen” (1924) and “Metropolis” (1926). His film “M” (1931) is considered a precursor to the fim noir genre. In his famous and much-quoted masterpiece “Metropolis” he drew the dark future vision of a world in which the proletariat was sering the machines in an impersonal world city. Fritz Lang emigrated to the USA in 1933 and together with Bertolt Brecht directed the movie “Hangmen Also Die” (1942), directed against the Nazi regime in Germany. In 1963 he was awarded the German Film Award and in 1966 the Federal Cross of Merit. Land died in 1976.
126 years ago today, the French cabaret Moulin Rouge opened its doors on the Boulevard Clichy in the Montmartre district of Paris. The venue was famous for its modern can-can dance performances and soon became the center of the Parisian entertainment district. It was considered the essence of Belle Epoque Paris where artists, businessmen , the middle classes, elegant women and visitors converged to attend avant-garde performances. The so-called “Bal du Moulin Rouge” was immortalized in posters by the famous artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Original works still adorn the foyer today. The “Moulin Rouge” helped many dancers to popularity and fame, among them “La Goulue.”
60 years ago today, young Hollywood film star James Dean was killed in a head-on collision car accident in California. The 24-year old actor was behind the wheel of his Porsche sports car and was dead upon arrival at the hospital. Dean’s mechanic, a passenger in the car, got badly injured but survived the crash. The driver of the other car suffered only minor injuries. Dean had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. Although only one of Dean’s movies, “East of Eden,” had been released at the time of his death, the young actor had already become an idol for the younger generation. Dean had finished filming “Giant” only the day before his accident. Both “Rebel without a Cause” and “Giant” opened shortly after the actor’s death. His brief career and violent death transformed him into a legend. James Dean was the first actor to receive posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for his roles in “East of Eden” and “Giant.”