CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

The marvellous Marlene Dietrich

The Story

Reinvention is the key to longevity, and Marlene Dietrich is proof of that. Thirty years after her 1930 breakthrough film The Blue Angel, she's as popular as ever - no longer as a screen siren, but as a cabaret singer. It's a life she loves better than acting, and she's got an excellent partner in pianist Burt Bacharach, who arranges her songs and accompanies her on piano. In this 1960 interview from CBC Radio's Assignment, Dietrich is unsentimental about her Hollywood past but speaks fondly of her favourite people, including Ernest Hemingway.

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Jan. 6, 1960
Guest: Marlene Dietrich
Host: Maria Barrett, Bill McNeil
Interviewer: Kerry Ellard
Duration: 9:49

Did You know?

• Born in Berlin in 1901, Marlene Dietrich began a career on the stage and in movies when she was a young woman. After the international success of 1930's The Blue Angel, she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. She starred in at least seven movies between then and 1935.

• In 1937 Dietrich became an American citizen. During the Second World War she entertained American servicemen overseas, and in the early 1950s she began performing her cabaret act in Las Vegas and Paris. Burt Bacharach, one of America's best-known songwriters, was Dietrich's arranger and accompanist from 1958 to 1961.

• Dietrich brought her cabaret act to Montreal for Expo 67, which garnered rave reviews. "Whatever Dietrich does, she does not sell herself to her audience; she does not milk it for applause. She acknowledges the pandemonium by lowering her heavy-lidded eyes to the floor, or, on rare occasions, by bowing low from the waist." - Ralph Hicklin, Globe and Mail, June 13, 1967

• Marlene Dietrich died in Paris in 1992.




Leading Ladies of Hollywood more