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Jarmila Anna Františka Marie Mandlová
28 January 1910
|Died||16 June 1991 (aged 81)|
Adina Mandlová (28 January 1910 in Mladá Boleslav, Austria-Hungary – 16 June 1991 in Příbram, Czechoslovakia) was a Czech actress, sex-symbol of the 1930s and a European movie star. She may be considered one of the most controversial Czech movie stars of all time for being involved in a number of scandals and love affairs.
Life and career
Mandlová, whose true name was Jarmila Anna Františka Marie Mandlová, was born in Mladá Boleslav. After her father died when she was 7 years old, she came to be raised in an unstable family, changing schools several times, and eventually becoming a model. Her film career started in 1932 thanks to a second-rate movie called Děvčátko, neříkej ne! (Girl, don't say no!), where she performed as a model. Later, she attracted Hugo Haas, who began to keep close company with her and later became her partner, recommended her to respected directors such as Otakar Vávra and Frič.
By that time Mandlová refused a role in Gustav Machatý's scandalous movie Extáze (1933), which was probably her biggest mistake because the performer of the title role, Hedy Kiesler, later succeeded in Hollywood as Hedy Lamarr. However, during a short time Mandlová became an unofficial Number One among Czech actresses. The top of her career was Kristián (1939), although she also successful in Panenství (1937), Mravnost nade vše (Morality Above All, 1937), Přítelkyně pana ministra (A girlfriend of the minister, 1940), Těžký život dobrodruha (A hard life of an adventurer, 1941), and Noční motýl (The Night Butterfly, 1941).
During the WW II Mandlová led a wild life and rumours about her scandals caused a growing aversion against her. For example, that she was a mistress of the German protector Karl Hermann Frank, which most probably was not true once he disliked her because of it. She was also invited to Germany, where Goebbels promised her success in her career under the condition that she chose a better pseudonym.
In 1943, Mandlová co-starred with German actor Heinz Rühmann in the movie "Ich vertraue dir meine Frau an", using the screen name of Lil Adina. However, her stay in Berlin soon ended due to Frank's intrigues. After the end of the war, popular rumours concerning her alleged contacts with Nazis proved to be malicious fabrications. Actually, she helped her former boyfriend who had escaped from a concentration camp. However, the public demand for her punishment was stronger than facts. In May 1945, she was arrested and according to her own memoirs, a warder, who was her big fan, saved her from lynching in front of a prison. That could be illustrated by the fact that director Jan Sviták, an alleged Nazi quisling, was then lynched and subsequently shot death in a street in Prague.
She was then persecuted but eventually married British pilot Joe Knight, who enabled her to emigrate to the Great Britain in 1947. There she tried to continue her film career, but with moderate success. In 1948, she acted in the movie The Fool and the Princess, but that was practically everything, because soon after she was taken ill with tuberculosis and healed in Switzerland. Her marriage crashed and she was forced to earn money by different ways, among other things as a collaborator of costume designer Ben Pearson, whom she later married. During the 60s, she had small roles in the British TV shows Ghost Squad (in the episode "Rich Ruby Wine") and The Saint (in the episode "The Rhine Maiden").
Afterwards, she lived with Pearson in Malta, where she also wrote the bitter biography Dnes se tomu směju (Today I Am Laughing Over It, 1976). In 1991, after 45 years, she returned home. The "old, sick and impatient lady" came to die on 16 June. Despite the negative picture surrounding her figure, she was a true actress in the very sense of the word.
Most important roles
- Život je pes as Eva Durdysová
- Holka nebo kluk? as Ada Bártů
- Cech panen Kutnohorských as Rozina
- Kristián as Zuzana Rendlová
- Kouzelný dům as Marie Ungrová
- Přítelkyně pana ministra as Julie Svobodová
- Pacientka dr. Hegla as Karla Janotová
- Hotel Modrá hvězda as Milada Landová
- Okouzlená as Milada Jánská
- Noční motýl as Anča, zvaná Kiki
- Šťastnou cestu as Helena Truxová
- Nezlobte dedecka
- Bila vrana