|Born||1 February 1904
Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire
|Died||2 January 1973
New York, New York
|Other names||Szidónia Silberspitz|
|Years active||1921 - 1946 (film)|
Franciska Gaal (1 February 1904 – 2 January 1973) was a Jewish Hungarian cabaret artist and film actress. Gaal starred in a popular series of European romantic comedies during the 1930s. After attracting interest in Hollywood she moved there and made three films.
Born Franciska Silberspitz in Budapest, she was groomed by Joe Pasternak as a singer to become a very popular stage and cabaret performer in Central Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. She made her first film appearances in some Hungarian silent films of the early 1920s, but her cinema carera didn't take off until the arrival of sound.
After appearing in several films made in Hungary, Germany and Austria - two of which were directed by Henry Koster - she came to Hollywood to star in Cecil B. De Mille's epic adventure film, The Buccaneer, opposite Fredric March. She followed this with the comedy The Girl Downstairs (1938) with Franchot Tone, a remake of her Austrian success Catherine the Last. In 1939 Gaal co-starred with Bing Crosby in the musical Paris Honeymoon.
She returned to Budapest because of her mother's illness and remained there for the duration of World War II.
In 1946, she began work on a new film in Budapest the Soviet-backed Renee XIV but filming was halted during production and it was never completed. She moved back to the United States in 1947, but her return attracted little interest in Hollywood. In 1951, she came to Broadway to replace Eva Gabor in The Happy Time.
She died in New York City.
- Paprika (1932)
- Greetings and Kisses, Veronika (1933)
- Scandal in Budapest (1933)
- Peter (1934)
- A Precocious Girl (1934)
- Spring Parade (1934)
- Little Mother (1935)
- Catherine the Last (1936)
- Fräulein Lilli (1936)
- The Girl Downstairs (1938)
- The Buccaneer (1938)
- Paris Honeymoon (1939)
- Renee XIV (1946, uncompleted)
- Bock & Bergfelder p.144
- Bock, Hans-Michael & Bergfelder, Tim. The Concise CineGraph. Encyclopedia of German Cinema. Berghahn Books, 2009.