Brigitte Helm

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Brigitte Helm
Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm

(1908-03-17)17 March 1908
Died11 June 1996(1996-06-11) (aged 88)
Ascona, Switzerland
Years active1927–1935; 1978
Richard Weisbach
(m. 1928; div. 1934)
Dr. Hugo Kunheim
(m. 1935; died 1986)

Brigitte Helm (born Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm, 17 March 1908 – 11 June 1996) was a German actress, best remembered for her dual role as Maria and her double named Futura, in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film, Metropolis.

Early life and film career[edit]

Brigitte Gisela Eva Schittenhelm was born on 17 March 1908 in Berlin, the daughter of Gretchen Gertrud Martha Schittenhelm (née Tews) and Edwin Alexander Johannes Schittenhelm. Helm's first role was that of Maria in Metropolis, which she began work on while only 18 years old. She signed a ten-year contract with UFA in 1925.[2] After Metropolis, Helm made over 30 other films, including talking pictures, before retiring in 1935. Her other appearances include The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927), Alraune (1928), L'Argent (1928), Gloria (1931), The Blue Danube (1932), L'Atlantide (1932), and Gold (1934). Helm was considered for the title role in Bride of Frankenstein before Elsa Lanchester was given the role.

Personal life[edit]

Helm was involved in several traffic accidents, and was briefly imprisoned.[3][4] According to the Nazi Party's Press Chief Obergruppenführer Otto Dietrich's book, The Hitler I Knew, Adolf Hitler saw that manslaughter charges against her from an automobile accident were dropped.[5]

Helm married her second husband, Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist, after her film contract expired in 1935.[6][7] Helm stated that she retired from films because she was "...disgusted with the Nazi takeover of the film industry..."[8] In 1935, she moved to Switzerland, where she had four children with Kunheim. In her later years, she refused to grant any interviews concerning her film career.

Helm died, 11 June 1996, in Ascona, Switzerland.[3]

Selected filmography[edit]



  1. ^ "Brigitte Helm". The Androom Archives. April 19, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  2. ^ Curtis, James (June 1, 1998). James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. Boston: Faber and Faber. pp. 243–44. ISBN 978-0571199389.
  3. ^ a b Sudendorff, Werner (June 18, 1996). "Obituary: Brigitte Helm". The Independent. London. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  4. ^ Staedeli, Thomas. Portrait of the actress Brigitte Helm Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-11-02.
  5. ^ Dietrich, Otto (2010). The Hitler I Knew: Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 978-1602399723.
  6. ^ "Die gefährliche Blondine" (in German). Sueddeutsche Zeitung. 17 May 2010.
  7. ^ Hull, David Stewart (1969). Film in the Third Reich, 1933-1945. University of California Press. p. 127. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  8. ^ Thomas Jr., Robert Mcg. (June 14, 1996). "Brigitte Helm, 88, Cool Star Of Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'". The New York Times. p. B17.

Further reading[edit]

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