Marlene by Charlotte Chandler
Dietrich, A Personal Biography

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In Marlene, the legendary Hollywood icon is vividly brought to life, based on a series of conversations with the star herself and with others who knew her well. In the mid-1970s Charlotte Chandler spoke with Marlene Dietrich in Dietrich’s Paris apartment. The star’s career was all but over, but she agreed to meet because Chandler hadn’t known Dietrich earlier, “when I was young and very beautiful.” Dietrich may have been retired, but her appearance and her celebrity—her famous mystique—were as important to her as ever.

Marlene Dietrich’s life is one of the most fabulous in Hollywood history. She began her career in her native Berlin as a model, then a stage and screen actress during the silent era, becoming a star with the international success The Blue Angel. Then, under the watchful eye of the director of that film, her mentor Josef von Sternberg, she came to America and became one of the brightest stars in Hollywood. She made a series of acclaimed pictures—Morocco, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, Destry Rides Again, among many others—that propelled her to international stardom. With the outbreak of World War II, the fiercely anti-Nazi Dietrich became an American citizen and entertained Allied troops on the front lines. After the war she embarked on a new career as a stage performer, and with her young music director, the gifted Burt Bacharach—whom Chandler interviewed for the book—Dietrich had an outstanding second career.

Dietrich spoke candidly with Chandler about her unconventional private life: although she never divorced her husband, Rudi Sieber, she had numerous well-publicized affairs with his knowledge (and he had a longtime mistress with her approval). By the late 1970s, plagued by accidents, Dietrich had become a virtual recluse in her Paris apartment, communicating with the outside world almost entirely by telephone Marlene Dietrich lived an extraordinary life, and Marlene relies extensively on the star’s own words to reveal how intriguing and fascinating that life really was.

About Charlotte Chandler

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Charlotte Chandler is the author of several biographies of actors and directors, including Groucho Marx, Federico Fellini, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, and Mae West, all of whom she interviewed extensively. She is a member of the board of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and lives in New York City.
Published March 29, 2011 by Simon & Schuster. 325 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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One time accompanist Burt Bacharach waxes appreciatively about Dietrich’s courage and tenacity, and various family members weigh in on the star’s conflicted filial relationships, but the heart of the book remains Dietrich’s account of herself as simultaneously an earthy, maternal woman, who was h...

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Publishers Weekly

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To most, Marlene Dietrich is an enigma, a divine creation of the silver screen. Chandler's newest biography wonderfully brings to life the person behind the facade of lights and cameras, using intervi

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Marlene: Marlene Dietrich, A ...

Kirkus Reviews

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All that was self-imposed, even when she was in good health, because she didn’t feel she looked like Marlene Dietrich anymore and to look like Marlene Dietrich was more than she could do.

Mar 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Marlene: Marlene Dietrich, A ...

Los Angeles Times

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As much as possible Chandler resists secondary sources, and Dietrich's confidences are richly rounded out by the detailed reminiscences shared with Chandler by Dietrich's onetime lover, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.;

May 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Marlene: Marlene Dietrich, A ...

San Francisco Chronicle

We've been down these glamorous bypaths many times before, most notably in the definitive biography by the late Steven Bach, "Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend" (1992), and we've heard exhaustively about Dietrich's sad, shabby final years from her own daughter, Maria Riva, in the troubling, compe...

Apr 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Marlene: Marlene Dietrich, A ...

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