Salka Viertel

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Salka Viertel
Salka Viertel.jpg
Born Salomea Steuermann
(1889-06-15)15 June 1889
Sambor, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died 20 October 1978(1978-10-20) (aged 89)
Klosters, Switzerland
Occupation Actress/Screenwriter
Years active 1929–1959
Spouse(s) Berthold Viertel
(m.1918-1947; divorced)

Salka Viertel (15 June 1889 – 20 October 1978) was an Austrian actress and screenwriter. The pianist and composer Eduard Steuermann was her brother. Mrs. Viertel was born Salomea Steuermann in Sambor, a city then in the province of Galicia, which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but today is in western Ukraine.


Viertel was under contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1933 to 1937, and co-wrote the scripts for many movies, particularly those starring her close friend Greta Garbo including Queen Christina (1933) and Anna Karenina (1935). She also played opposite Garbo in MGM's German-language version of Anna Christie in 1930.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Salka Viertel was married to Berthold Viertel and they had three sons, one of whom, Peter Viertel, born in 1920 and an accomplished writer and screenwriter, was married to actress Deborah Kerr from 1960 until her death in 2007. The Viertels, members of the Jewish-German intelligentsia, moved to the United States in 1928 for a planned four-year stay.[1]

In 1932, due to Hitler's rise, they decided to stay in Santa Monica, California, where Peter grew up with his brothers, Hans and Thomas. The home in Santa Monica Canyon was the site of salons and meetings of the Hollywood intelligentsia and the émigré community of European intellectuals, particularly at the Sunday night tea parties.[1] Salka Viertel was also active aiding those still trapped in Europe.[2] She wrote a memoir The Kindness of Strangers (1969).


Salka Viertel died in Klosters, Switzerland, on 20 October 1978, aged 89.

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Prager, Katharina. (2007) "Ich bin nicht gone Hollywood!" Salka Viertel – Ein Leben in Theater und Film, ISBN 978-3-7003-1592-6, Wien: Braumüller Verlag.
  • Viertel, Salka. (1969) The Kindness of Strangers, Montreal: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada.


External links[edit]