Lilli Marie Peiser
24 May 1914
|Died||27 January 1986 (aged 71)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California|
|Relatives||Irene Prador (sister)|
Lilli Palmer (German: [ˈlɪ.li ˈpal.mɐ] (listen); born Lilli Marie Peiser; 24 May 1914 – 27 January 1986) was a German actress and writer. After beginning her career in British films in the 1930s, she would later transition to major Hollywood productions, earning a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance in But Not for Me (1959).
Other notable roles include in the comedy The Pleasure of His Company (1961), the Spanish horror film The House That Screamed (1969), and in the miniseries Peter the Great (1986), which earned her another Golden Globe Award nomination. For her career in European films, Palmer won the Volpi Cup, and the Deutscher Filmpreis three times.
Palmer, who took her surname from an English actress she admired, was one of three daughters born to Alfred Peiser, a German Jewish surgeon, and Rose Lissman (or Lissmann), an Austrian Jewish stage actress in Posen, Prussia, Germany (now Poznań, Poland).
When Lilli was four her family moved to Berlin-Charlottenburg. She was a junior table tennis champion as a young girl. She studied drama in Berlin but her recently negotiated two-year contract with the Frankfurt Playhouse was cancelled after Hitler came to power in 1933 and the family faced grave reminders due to their Jewish heritage. Her elder sister, Irene (1911–1996), became an actress known as Irene Prador, later Mrs Irene Tooth. The youngest sister, Hildegard Julie Peiser (later Mrs Ross; 1919–2008), did not, however, follow her sisters' career choices. Lilli and her sisters fled Berlin to Paris but their father died in 1934 (aged 57) in Berlin. Their mother, Rose, died in 1959 (aged 77) in England.
In France, she appeared in an operetta at the Moulin Rouge, and then to London, where she began her film career. While performing in cabarets, she attracted the attention of British talent scouts and was offered a contract by the Gaumont Film Company. She made her screen debut in Crime Unlimited (1935) and appeared in numerous British films for the next decade.
She married actor Rex Harrison on 25 January 1943, and followed him to Hollywood in 1945. She signed with Warner Brothers and appeared in several films, notably Cloak and Dagger (1946) and Body and Soul (1947).
She periodically appeared in stage plays as well as hosting her own television series in 1951.
Harrison and Palmer appeared together in the hit Broadway play Bell, Book and Candle in the early 1950s. They also appeared in the 1951 British melodrama The Long Dark Hall, and later starred in the film version of The Four Poster (1952), which was based on the award-winning Broadway play of the same name, written by Jan de Hartog. She won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress in 1953 for The Four Poster.
Palmer returned to Germany in 1954, where she played roles in many films and television productions. She also continued to play both leading and supporting parts in the U.S. and abroad. In 1957, she won the Deutscher Filmpreis for Best Actress for her portrayal of Anna Anderson in The Story of Anastasia, called Is Anna Anderson Anastasia? in the UK. In 1958, she played the role of a teacher opposite Romy Schneider in Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform), the remake of the 1931 film of the same title.
She starred opposite William Holden in The Counterfeit Traitor (1962), an espionage thriller based on fact, and opposite Robert Taylor in another true Second World War story, Disney's Miracle of the White Stallions (1963). On the small screen, in 1974 she starred as Manouche Roget in the six-part television drama series The Zoo Gang, about a group of former underground freedom fighters from the Second World War, with Brian Keith, Sir John Mills and Barry Morse.
Palmer published a memoir, Change Lobsters and Dance, in 1975. Reminiscences by Vivian Matalon and Noël Coward (Matalon directed Palmer in the premiere production of Coward's trilogy Suite in Three Keys in 1966) suggest that Palmer was not always the patient and reasonable person she represented herself as being in this autobiography. She wrote a full-length work of fiction presented as a novel rather than a memoir, The Red Raven, in 1978.
Palmer's first marriage was to Rex Harrison in 1943. They divorced amicably in 1957, so that he could marry ailing actress Kay Kendall before her untimely death. Palmer was agreeable since she was already involved with her future husband, Carlos Thompson.
Palmer was married to Argentine actor Carlos Thompson from 1957 until her death in Los Angeles from abdominal cancer in 1986 at the age of 71. She was survived by her husband, son, sisters, and her ex-husband.
- 1953: Volpi Cup for Best Actress for The Four Poster
- 1956: Deutscher Filmpreis (Silver) for Best Actress in Teufel in Seide
- 1957: Deutscher Filmpreis (Silver) for Best Actress in Anastasia, die letzte Zarentochter
- 1959: Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination for But Not for Me
- 1972: Goldene Kamera for Eine Frau bleibt eine Frau (ZDF TV)
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7013 Hollywood Blvd.
- 1974: Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Großes Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
- 1978: Deutscher Filmpreis (Gold) for Lifetime Achievement
- 1986: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film nomination for Peter the Great
|1936||The First Offence||Jeannette|
|1937||Good Morning, Boys||Yvette|
|1937||The Great Barrier||Lou|
|1938||Crackerjack||Baroness Von Haltz|
|1939||A Girl Must Live||Clytie Devine|
|1940||Sunset in Vienna||Gelda Sponek|
|1940||The Door with Seven Locks||June Lansdowne||Also known as: Chamber of Horrors|
|1942||Thunder Rock||Melanie Kurtz|
|1943||The Gentle Sex||Erna Debruski|
|1944||English Without Tears||Brigid Knudsen||Also known as: Her Man Gilbey|
|1945||The Rake's Progress||Rikki Krausner||Also known as: Notorious Gentleman|
|1946||Beware of Pity||Baroness Edith de Kekesfalva|
|1946||Cloak and Dagger||Gina|
|1947||Body and Soul||Peg Born|
|1948||My Girl Tisa||Tisa Kepes|
|1948||No Minor Vices||April Ashwell|
|1951||The Long Dark Hall||Mary Groome|
|1952||The Four Poster||Abby Edwards|
|1953||Main Street to Broadway||Lilli Palmer|
|1956||Devil in Silk||Melanie|
|1956||The Taming of the Shrew||Katherina||TV movie|
|1956||The Story of Anastasia||Anna Anderson|
|1956||Between Time and Eternity||Nina Bohlen|
|1957||The Night of the Storm||Marianne Eichler|
|1957||The Glass Tower||Katja Fleming|
|1958||A Woman Who Knows What She Wants||Julia Klöhn, Lehrerin & Angela Cavallini|
|1958||The Lovers of Montparnasse||Beatrice Hastings||Also known as: Modigliani of Montparnasse|
|1958||Girls in Uniform||Elisabeth von Bernburg||Also known as: Mädchen in Uniform|
|1958||Life Together||Odette de Starenberg||Also known as: La Vie à deux|
|1959||But Not for Me||Kathryn Ward|
|1960||Mrs. Warren's Profession||Mrs. Kitty Warren|
|1960||Conspiracy of Hearts||Mother Katharine|
|1961||The Pleasure of His Company||Katharine Dougherty|
|1961||The Last of Mrs. Cheyney||Mrs. Cheney|
|1962||Finden Sie, daß Constanze sich richtig verhält?||Constanze Calonder|
|1962||Leviathan||Mother||Also known as: Dark Journey|
|1962||The Counterfeit Traitor||Mrs. Marianne Möllendorf|
|1962||Le rendez-vous de minuit||Eva / Anne Leuven|
|1962||Adorable Julia||Julia Lambert|
|1962||L'amore difficile||Hilde||Also known as: Sex Can Be Difficult, (segment "Il serpente")|
|1963||Miracle of the White Stallions||Vedena Podhajsky|
|1963||Torpedo Bay||Lygia da Silva|
|1963||Das große Liebesspiel||Actress|
|1964||Le Grain de sable||Anna-Maria di Scorza|
|1965||The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders||Dutchy|
|1965||God's Thunder||Marie Brassac||Also known as: Le Tonnerre de Dieu|
|1966||Zwei Girls vom Roten Stern||Olga Nikolaijewna||Also known as: An Affair of States|
|1966||Der Kongreß amüsiert sich||Princess Metternich||Also known as: Congress of Love|
|1966||Le Voyage du père||Isabelle Quantin||Also known as: Father's Trip|
|1967||The Dance of Death||Alice|
|1967||Jack of Diamonds||Herself|
|1967||The Diary of Anne Frank||Edith Frank||TV movie|
|1968||Oedipus the King||Jocasta|
|1968||Nobody Runs Forever||Sheila Quentin|
|1969||De Sade||Mademoiselle de Montreuil|
|1969||The House That Screamed||Señora Fourneau||Also known as: La residencia|
|1970||Only the Cool||Helen|
|1970||Hauser's Memory||Anna Hauser||TV movie|
|1971||Murders in the Rue Morgue||Mrs. Charron|
|1972||What the Peeper Saw||Dr. Viorne|
|1975||Lotte in Weimar||Lotte|
|1978||The Boys from Brazil||Esther Lieberman|
|1980||Weekend||Judith Bliss||TV movie|
|1982||High Society Limited||Hilde|
|1982||Imaginary Friends||Ellen Pitblado||TV movie|
|1985||The Holcroft Covenant||Althene Holcroft|
|2018||The Other Side of the Wind||Zarah Valeska||(final film role)|
|1938||Starlight||Episode: "Richard Hearne"|
|1938||S-s-s-h! The Wife!||The Wife||Short|
|1949||Suspense||Julia||Episode: "The Comic Strip Murder"|
|1950||The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse||Molly Collicutt||Episode: "The Uncertain Molly Collicutt"|
|1952||Lux Video Theatre||Nancy||Episode: "Three Hours Between Planes"|
|1952||Omnibus||Anne Boleyn||Episode: "The Trial of Anne Boleyn"|
|1953||The United States Steel Hour||Mrs. Chrystal Weatherby||Episode: "The Man in Possession"|
|1954||Four Star Playhouse||Stacy Lawrence||Episode: "Lady of the Orchids"|
|1972–1979||Eine Frau bleibt eine Frau||Various||5 episodes|
|1974||The Zoo Gang||Manouche 'The Leopard' Roget||6 episodes|
|1974||Derrick||Martha Balke / Johanna Jensen||Episode: "Johanna"|
|1984||The Love Boat||Lilly Marlowe||2 episodes|
|1986||Peter the Great||Natalya||Miniseries|
|1952||Theatre Guild on the Air||An Ideal Husband|
|1953||Star Playhouse||No Time for Comedy|
|1953||Star Playhouse||Twentieth Century|
- Luft, Herbert C. (5 August 1960). "On the Screen". Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. p. 3. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Lili Palmer, actress: Still understated at 70". Toledo Blade. 26 May 1984. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- Bergfelder & Cargnelli 2008, p. 176.
- "Body and Soul (1947)". Turner Classic Movies Database. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- Kleiman, Dena (29 January 1986). "Lilli Palmer, actress on TV, stage and screen for 50 years". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Venice Film Festival: History 1932–2018 – Coppa Volpi for best actors since 1935"
- Folkart, Burt (29 January 1986). "Lilli Palmer, Actress and Best-Selling Author, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- "Maedchen in Uniform". Turner Classic Movies Database. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- "The Pleasure of His Company". Turner Classic Movies Database. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- "TV: Zoo Gang on NBC" by John J. O'Connor, The New York Times, July 16, 1975. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
- Palmer, Lilli (1978). The Red Raven: A Novel. Macmillan. ISBN 9780025946309.
- "Lilli Palmer". Jewish Women's Archive. Archived from the original on 20 June 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- "A Final Curtain Call: Rex Harrison (1908-1990)". 2 July 2014.
- Moliterno 2009, p. 352.
- "Deutscher Filmpreis-Lilli Palmer". Deutscher Film Preis (in German). Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- "Lilli Palmer". Golden Globes. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- Kniewel, Peter (1979). Unser Fernsehen, 1952–1979: Geschichte und Geschichten des Mediums, der Menschen, der Sender und Sendungen. Springer. pp. 66–67 – via Google Books.
- Folkart, Burt. "Lilli Palmer". Los Angeles Times. Hollywood Star Walk. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Philomel Cottage". escape-suspense.com. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
- Kirby, Walter (30 March 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved 18 May 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (18 October 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Daily Review. p. 48. Retrieved 6 July 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kirby, Walter (22 November 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". Decatur Daily Review. p. 46 – via Newspapers.com.
- Bergfelder, Tim; Cargnelli, Christian, eds. (2008). Speaking Emigres and British Cinema, 1925–1950. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-84545-532-3.
- Moliterno, Gino (2009). The A to Z of Italian Cinema. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6896-0.
- McClintock, Walter (1951). Current biography yearbook: 1951. New York: H. W. Wilson.
- Palmer, Lilli. Change Lobsters and Dance: An Autobiography. New York: Macmillan, 1975. ISBN 978-0-02-594610-1
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