Dita Parlo

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Dita Parlo
Dita Parlo Binder.jpg
Parlo c. 1928
Grethe Gerda Kornstädt or Gerda Olga Justine Kornstädt

4 September 1908
Stettin, Pomerania, German Empire (present-day Szczecin, Poland)
Died12 December 1971 (aged 63)
Paris, France
Years active1928–1965
Franck Gueutal
(m. 1949)

Dita Parlo (born Grethe Gerda Kornstädt[1][2] or Gerda Olga Justine Kornstädt;[3][4] 4 September 1908 – 12 December 1971) was a German film actress.

Early life and career[edit]

Parlo in 1931

Dita Parlo was born on 4 September 1908 in Stettin, Pomerania, then in the German Empire. 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.[5][6][7][8]

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[edit]

In 1949, she married a Protestant pastor, Franck Gueutal,[9] with whom she remained until her death. She died on 12 December 1971 in Paris, France, although some sources list her death date as 13 December.[2][10] She is buried at Cimetière Protestant de Montécheroux.

In popular culture[edit]

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 1934 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.[11]



  1. ^ Riazzoli, Mirko (25 September 2017). A Chronology of the Cinema Volume 1 from the pioneers to 1960. ISBN 9788892685482.
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (19 August 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. ISBN 9781476625997.
  3. ^ Birth certificate of Dita Parlo at Staatsarchiv Stettin; accessed 13 September 2016.(in German).
  4. ^ Kuh, Anton (November 2016). Werke. ISBN 9783835329799.
  5. ^ "Parlo, Dita (1906–1971) | Encyclopedia.com". encyclopedia.com.
  6. ^ Guilbert, Georges-Claude (2 October 2015). Madonna as Postmodern Myth: How One Star's Self-Construction Rewrites Sex, Gender, Hollywood and the American Dream. ISBN 9780786480715.
  7. ^ Berkovitch, Evgueni. Odisseja Peter'a Pringsheim'a. ISBN 9781291583502.
  8. ^ MacDonald, Nicholas (November 2013). In Search of la Grande Illusion: A Critical Appreciation of Jean Renoir's Elusive Masterpiece. ISBN 9780786462704.
  9. ^ Bouyer, Louis (16 March 2016). Mémoires. ISBN 9782204112307.
  10. ^ "Dita Parlo (1906-1971) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com.
  11. ^ Katherine Nguyen. "Dita Von Teese: Call her old-fashioned". ocregister.com. Retrieved 17 February 2007.

External links[edit]