Life and career
Little is known about Ida Wüst's early childhood. She discovered early the world of theater, and decided to make it her career. After attending the high school in Frankfurt am Main, Wüst took acting lessons from Thessa Klinghammer and at the age of 16 received her first engagement at the StadtTheatre of Colmar, and further stage productions in Bromberg, and in 1904 performed extensively in Leipzig. In 1907 she became a member of the ensemble of the Lessing-Theater in Berlin, where she performed roles in Hosenrollen (roles in which women impersonate men in trousers), and comedies and became sought after actress.
Wüst appeared in the four-silent serial installments of Tragödie der Liebe 1-4 in 1922 and 1923 (English: Tragedy of Love 1-4), which also featured a young Marlene Dietrich. Many other silent movies quickly followed and Wüst's film career of the silent era was prolific. She transitioned to the sound era of the talkie with relative ease and appeared in many stage and film production during the 1930s.
World War II brought a slump in Wüst's career. During the war years she played in only several film and theater roles.
Following the war, Wüst's 1946 request for denazification was dismissed because during the Nazi regime, she was accused of denouncing fellow actors such as Eduard von Winterstein. Wüst was known to have corresponded with Adolf Hitler throughout the war years and several of her letters to Hitler are on file at the Princeton University Adolf Hitler Collection. Only in 1949 was Wüst classified as suitable to resume her career. During the 1950s, she made several films, often appearing as sprightly elderly ladies and comedic matronly types. Also, during the 1950s, she again returned to the stage.
During her career, Ida Wüst appeared opposite some of the most notable stars of the German cinema, such as: Heinz Rühmann, Hans Albers, Peter Lorre, Paul Henckels, Käthe Dorsch, Hans Moser, Käthe Haack, Paul Kemp, Theo Lingen and many more.
On 4 October 1958 Ida Wüst died of a stroke, following a severe lung inflammation.
As a screenwriter
- Only a Servant (1919)
- Der König von Paris Teil 1 & 2 (1920)
As an actress
Selected theater performances
- Kammermusik (Lessing-Theater, Berlin, 1914)
- Drei arme kleine Mädels (Theater am Nollendorfplatz, Berlin, 1927)
- Die Männer sind nicht dankbar (Kabarett Simpl, Vienna, Austria, 1940)