Parlo c. 1928
Grethe Gerda Kornstädt or Gerda Olga Justine Kornstädt
4 September 1908
|Died||12 December 1971 (aged 63)|
|Spouse(s)||Franck Gueutal (m. 1949)|
Dita Parlo was born on 4 September 1908 in Stettin, Pomerania. Sources differ as to whether her birth name was Grethe Gerda Kornstädt or Gerda Olga Justine Kornstädt. Her birth year is also sometimes listed as being 1906.
Parlo made her first film appearance in Homecoming (Heimkehr) in 1928 and quickly became a popular actress in Germany. During the 1930s she moved easily between German and French films, achieving success in several films, including, in the span of four years, two that are considered among the greatest in cinema history: L'Atalante (1934) and La Grande Illusion (1937). She was deported to Germany as an enemy alien during World War II, but returned to France in 1949 and resumed her career.
Parlo attempted to establish a career in American films but despite a couple of roles in Hollywood films, was unable to extend her European success. In the late 1930s, she was scheduled to appear in the Orson Welles production of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness for RKO Radio Pictures. However, that project did not come to pass. With the outbreak of World War II, Parlo returned to Germany. She appeared in only three films during the last thirty years of her life, making her final film appearance in 1965.
Personal life and death
In 1949, she married a Protestant pastor, Franck Gueutal, whom she remained with until her death. She died on 12 December 1971 in Paris, France, although some sources list her death date as 13 December. She is buried at Cimetière Protestant de Montécheroux.
In popular culture
Musician Steve Adey has a song called "Dita Parlo" on his 2012 studio album The Tower of Silence. The song was written in response to Jean Vigo's 1930's film L'Atalante. Parlo was referenced by Madonna, who said she had been fascinated by Parlo, and took her name for the character she created for her Sex book and Erotica album. Its title track commences with the line "My name is Dita, I'll be your mistress tonight..." Burlesque performer Dita Von Teese took her name in tribute to Parlo.
- Heimkehr (Homecoming) (1928)
- Geheimnisse des Orients (Secrets of the Orient) (1928)
- Die Dame mit der Maske (The Lady with the Mask) (1928)
- Hungarian Rhapsody (1928)
- Manolescu - Der König der Hochstapler (1929)
- Melodie des Herzens (Melody of the Heart) (1929)
- Au bonheur des dames (1930)
- Kismet (1931, German-language version produced by Warner Bros.)
- Die heilige Flamme (The Sacred Flame (1931)
- Menschen hinter Gittern (Men Behind Bars) (1931)
- Tropennächte (Tropical Nights) (1931)
- Honor of the Family (1931)
- Tänzerinnen für Süd-Amerika gesucht (1931)
- Wir schalten um auf Hollywood (1931)
- Rapt (1933)
- Mr. Broadway (1933, US, starring Ed Sullivan)
- L'Atalante (1934)
- La Grande Illusion (1937)
- Mademoiselle Docteur (1937)
- Under Secret Orders (1937, English-language version of Mademoiselle Docteur)
- L'Affaire du courrier de Lyon (1938)
- Ultimatum (1938)
- La Rue sans joie (1938)
- Paix sur le Rhin (1938)
- L'Inconnue de Monte Carlo (1938)
- L'Or du Cristobal (Cristobal's Gold) (1940)
- Justice est faite (Justice is Done) (1950)
- La Dame de pique (1965)
- Birth certificate of Dita Parlo at Staatsarchiv Stettin; accessed 13 September 2016.(in German).
- Katherine Nguyen. "Dita Von Teese: Call her old-fashioned". ocregister.com. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
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