Erich von Stroheim : biography
Erich von Stroheim (September 22, 1885 – May 12, 1957) was an Austrian director, actor and producer, most notable as being a film star of the silent era, subsequently noted as an auteur for his directorial work.Obituary Variety, May 15, 1957, page 75.
"Lubitsch shows you first the king on the throne, then as he is in the bedroom. I show you the king in the bedroom so you’ll know just what he is when you see him on his throne."Stroheim quoted in Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films, ed. and trans. Peter Morris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972) 217.
"If you live in France, for instance, and you have written one good book, or painted one good picture, or directed one outstanding film fifty years ago and nothing else since, you are still recognized and honored accordingly. People take their hats off to you and call you "maître". They do not forget. In Hollywood—in Hollywood, you’re as good as your last picture. If you didn’t have one in production within the last three months, you’re forgotten, no matter what you have achieved ere this."Eulogy for D.W. Griffith, reprinted in The Man You Loved To Hate, by Richard Koszarski, page 282.
Stroheim was born in Vienna, Austria in 1885 as Erich Oswald Stroheim, the son of Benno Stroheim, a middle-class hat-maker, and Johanna Bondy, both of whom were practicing Jews.Koszarski, Richard. Von: The Life and Films of Erich von Stroheim. New York: Limelight Editions, 2001. p. 4.
Stroheim emigrated to America at the end of 1909.Koszarski, op. cit. p. 3. On arrival at Ellis Island he claimed to be Count Erich Oswald Hans Carl Maria von Stroheim und Nordenwall, the son of Austrian nobility like the characters he played in his films, but both Billy Wilder and Stroheim’s agent Paul Kohner claimed that he spoke with a decidedly lower-class Austrian accent. However Jean Renoir writes in his memoirs: “Stroheim spoke hardly any German. He had to study his lines like a schoolboy learning a foreign language.”Renoir, Jean. Ma Vie et mes films (Flammarion, 1974) p.150. Renoir writes of the filming of La Grande Illusion : "An amusing detail was that Stroheim barely spoke German. He had to study his lines like a schoolboy learns a text in a foreign language. In the eyes of the whole world, he remains nevertheless the perfect example of the German soldier. His genius triumphs over the literal copy of reality." Later, while living in Europe, Stroheim claimed in published remarks to have "forgotten" his native tongue.
|1912||An Unseen Enemy||Man in straw hat dancing by desk in lobby|
|1916||The Flying Torpedo||Accomplice|
|1916||His Picture in the Papers||‘Eye patch’ thug|
|1918||The Heart of Humanity||Eric von Eberhard|
|1919||Blind Husbands||Lieutenant Eric Von Steuben||Director and screenwriter and producer|
|1920||The Devil’s Pass Key||Director and screenwriter|
|1922||Foolish Wives||Their cousin, Count Wladislaw Sergius Karamzin (Russian Captain of Hussars)||Director and screenwriter|
|1923||Merry-Go-Round||Director and screenwriter|
|1924||Greed||Balloon vendor – uncredited||Director and screenwriter|
|1925||The Merry Widow||Director and screenwriter and producer|
|1928||The Wedding March||Nicki / Prince Nickolas von Wildeliebe-Rauffenburg||Director|
|1929||Queen Kelly||Director and screenwriter and producer|
|1932||The Lost Squadron||Arthur von Furst|
|1933||Hello, Sister!||Director and screenwriter|
|1936||The Crime of Dr. Crespi||Dr. Andre Crespi|
|1937||La Grande Illusion||Captain von Rauffenstein, a German officer|
|1943||Five Graves to Cairo||Field Marshal Erwin Rommel|
|1943||The North Star||Dr. von Harden|
|1944||The Lady and the Monster||Prof. Franz Mueller|
|1944||Storm Over Lisbon||Deresco|
|1945||The Great Flamarion||The Great Flamarion|
|1945||Scotland Yard Investigator||Carl Hoffmeyer|
|1946||The Mask of Diijon||Diijon|
|1950||Sunset Boulevard||Maximillian "Max" von Mayerling||Nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1955||Napoléon||Ludwig van Beethoven|