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photographed in 1935
26 April 1906|
|Died||7 October 1937
|Other names||Renate Muller|
Renate Müller (26 April 1906 – 7 October 1937) was a German singer and actress in both silent films and sound films, as well as on stage.
One of the most successful actresses in German films from the early 1930s, she was courted by the Nazi Party to appear in films that promoted their ideals, but refused. Her sudden death at the age of 31 was initially attributed to epilepsy, but after the end of World War II, witnesses suggested that she had been murdered by Gestapo officers, although another theory contends that she committed suicide. The true circumstances of her death remain unknown.
Life and career
Born in Munich, Germany, Müller entered films in the late 1920s in Berlin and quickly became popular. A blue-eyed blonde, she was considered to be one of the great beauties of her day and along with Marlene Dietrich was seen to embody fashionable Berlin society. She starred in more than twenty German films, including Viktor und Viktoria (1933), one of her biggest successes, which was remade decades later as Victor Victoria with Julie Andrews. After making Sunshine Susie (1932) in England, she returned to Germany and was delayed by anti-German French officials for a short time in Paris. The incident was used by Dennis Wheatley as a basis for his short story, "Espionage". The story and a short discussion of the incident are included in Wheatley's short story collection Mediterranean Nights.
With the rise of the Nazi Party, Müller came to be regarded as an ideal Aryan woman and particularly in light of Dietrich's move to Hollywood, was courted and promoted as Germany's leading film actress. A meeting with Adolf Hitler in the mid 1930s resulted in Müller being offered parts in films that promoted Nazi ideals.
In December 1934 she collected for the Winterhilfswerk in Berlin.
When Müller died suddenly, the German press stated the cause as epilepsy. However, it was later revealed that she had died as a result of a fall from a hotel (or hospital) window. According to Channel 4 documentary "Sex and the Swastika", aired in February 2009, she jumped from a Berlin hospital window where she was being treated for a knee injury or drug addiction.
Officially described as a suicide, it was theorised that she took her own life when her relationship with Nazi leaders deteriorated after she showed unwillingness to appear in propaganda films. She was also known to have been pressured to end a relationship with her Jewish lover, but had refused. Near the end of her life she became addicted to morphine and abused alcohol. Witnesses also recalled seeing several Gestapo officers entering her building shortly before she died. It has been asserted she was either murdered by Gestapo officers who threw her from a window, or that she panicked when she saw them arrive and jumped. The true circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear.
According to Uwe Klöckner-Draga in his book "Renate Müller - Ihr Leben ein Drahtseilakt" : on April 3 Goebbels wrote in his diary: “Renate tells me her tale of woe. She is a sick woman”. On the 6th he mentions that she has been interrogated in a very dishonoring way and on the 25th of June: “Renate Müller! I help her.” At the end of September – according to her sister Gabriele – Renate was drunk and sitting on a window sill when she lost balance.
Müller's life and death were portrayed in the 1960 film Sweetheart of the Gods.
|1929||Peter the Mariner||Victoria||Alternative title: Peter der Matrose|
|1929||Dear Homeland||Gretchen Jürgen||Alternative titles: Teure Heimat, Drei machen ihr Glück|
|1929||Revolt in the Reformatory||Hausvaters Tochter||Alternative titles: Revolte im Erziehungshaus|
|1930||Love in the Ring||Hilde, the Fish Peddler's Daughter||Alternative titles: Liebe im Ring, The Comeback|
|1930||The Son of the White Mountain||Mary Dulac||Alternative title: Der Sohn der weißen Berge|
|1930||Darling of the Gods||Agathe||Alternative titles: Darling of the Gods, Der Große Tenor|
|1930||The Flute Concert of Sans-Souci||Blanche von Lindeneck||Alternative title: Flötenkonzert von Sans-souci|
|1931||The Private Secretary||Vilma Förster||Alternative titles: Die Privatsekretärin|
|1931||Storm in a Water Glass||Victoria Thoss||Alternative titles: Sturm im Wasserglas, Die Blumenfrau von Lindenau|
|1931||The Little Escapade||Erika Heller||Alternative title: Der kleine Seitensprung|
|1931||Sunshine Susie||Susie Surster||Alternative title: The Office Girl|
|1932||Marry Me||Ann Linden|
|1932||Girls to Marry||Gerda Arnhold||Alternative title: Mädchen zum Heiraten|
|1932||Wie sag' ich's meinem Mann?||Charlotte Oltendorf||Alternative title: How Shall I Tell My Husband?|
|1932||When Love Sets the Fashion||Nelly||Alternative title: Wenn die Liebe Mode macht|
|1933||Season in Cairo||Stefanie von Weidling-Weidling||Alternative title: Saison in Kairo|
|1933||Idylle au Caire||Stéphy|
|1933||Waltz War||Katti Lanner||Alternative titles: Walzerkrieg, Waltz Time in Vienna, The Battle of the Walzes|
|1933||Victor and Victoria||Susanne Lohr||Alternative title: Viktor und Viktoria|
|1934||The English Marriage||Gerte Winter||Alternative title: Die englische Heirat|
|1935||The Private Life of Louis XIV||Liselotte von der Pfalz||Alternative titles: Liselotte von der Pfalz, Liselotte of the Palatinate|
|1935||Liebesleute||Dorothea Rainer||Alternative titles: Hermann und Dorothea von Heute, A Pair of Lovers|
|1936||Tomfoolery||Viola||Alternative titles: Allotria|
|1936||Eskapade||Madame Hélène||Alternative titles: Geheimagentin Helene, His Official Wife, Spione in St. Petersburg|
- Wollstein, Hans J. "Renate Müller". Retrieved 4 April 2009.
- Original in German, Goebbels: "Renate Müller erzählt mir ihre Leidengeschichte. Sie ist eine kranke Frau." / "...Renate Müller, die auf das Entehrendste vernommen wurde" / "Renate Müller! Ich helfe ihr."
- Uwe Klöckner-Draga: Renate Müller, Ihr Leben ein Drahtseilakt - "Ein deutscher Filmstar, der keinen Juden lieben durfte". Kern, 2006, ISBN 978-3-939478-01-0