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A German actress/singer born in 1901. She started out in vaudeville and theater, then moved to silent films and her transition to sound coincided with the time she moved to America (1930); she became a U.S. citizen in 1939. An anti-Nazi, Dietrich performed for the American troops on the front lines of the European theater of World War II. Some Germans label her a traitor even today for having abandoned her country.

As an actress, she is known for her sultry, somewhat stoic style of acting. She also famously crossdressed in many of her roles, usually cabaret scenes.

Dietrich was very secretive of her private life, although she was openly bisexual. Her list of conquests is truly staggering[1], although it should be taken with a grain of salt, especially because a lot of those claims come from her rather jaded daughter, Maria Riva.


She fits the following tropes:

  • Bifauxnen/Wholesome Crossdresser
  • Fake Nationality: French in Morocco, Austrian in Dishonored, Spanish in The Devil Is A Woman, Russian in The Scarlet Empress. Then again, she did this way too many times to be listed.
  • Good Bad Girl: Pretty much every role. From an American point of view, the woman herself.
  • Really Gets Around
  • The Rival: Greta Garbo. Some people smell Foe Yay on it, but it can't be proven.
  • Trickster: Morocco is most remembered as "that 1930s flick where Dietrich actually kisses another woman on-screen". It was Dietrich herself who came up with a way to save the scene from the censors: she took a flower from the woman, which was then given to the male lead (Gary Cooper). Basically, if the censors had cut the scene, the presence of the flower would make no sense.

Notes

  1. despite having been married once and for about 50 years
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