Pola Negri Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (26)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Lipno, Poland, Russian Empire [now Lipno, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland]
Died in San Antonio, Texas, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameApolonia Chalupec
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Pola Negri was born in Lipno, Poland, and moved to Warsaw as a child. Living in poverty with her mother, a teenage Pola auditioned and was accepted to the Imperial Ballet. Due to an illness that ended her dancing career, she soon switched to the Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts and became an actress. By 17 she was a star on the Warsaw stage, but World War I would soon change the theater scene. Without the theater, Pola turned to films. With her new career in pictures and her stage success in "Sumurun", she went to Berlin and was teamed with German director Ernst Lubitsch. The Lubitsch-Negri combination was very successful and the roles that Pola played were earthy, exotic, strong women. One of her films, Passion (1919), was optioned and retitled "Passion" for exhibition in America. The film was such a success that by 1922 she and Lubitsch were both given contracts to work in Hollywood. While her first few films showed some success, they were overshadowed by her reported romances with such stars as Charles Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. Forbidden Paradise (1924), made with Lubitsch, and Hotel Imperial (1927) were two of her more successful films. However, three things conspired to end her career in Hollywood: (1) The perception that her mourning for Rudolph Valentino was insincere, though Negri did describe him as the love of her life; (2) The Hays Office codes that would not allow her to show the very traits that made her a sex-siren in Europe; (3) Her thick Polish accent would not play in the sound pictures that were coming into vogue.

Pola Negri returned to Europe and eventually made films for UFA, which was under Nazi management. In 1941 she returned to America penniless. She made Hi Diddle Diddle (1943) and became an American citizen in 1951. Her next and last movie was The Moon-Spinners (1964).

She died of pneumonia in San Antonio, TX, in 1987.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Pola Negri was born Apolonia Chalupec in Janowa, Poland, on January 3, 1897, the sole child of three to survive infancy in a middle class family. When her Slovakian father was arrested by the Russians and sent to a Siberian prison camp, she and her Polish mother became impoverished. Moving to Warsaw in 1902, she was to spend her formative years in dire poverty. As a teenager, Pola auditioned for the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet. She was accepted. As a ballerina she showed great promise until she contracted tuberculosis and was forced to cut short her dance career. Devastated that her dreams would no longer be fulfilled and wanting to escape poverty, Pola auditioned for the Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts and became a theatre actress. A stage star, her life changed again with the advent of World War I. Once again, she and her mother were plunged into poverty so she turned to film to make a go of it. Her first role was in the film, "Die Bestie" in 1915.

By the time the war ended she had starred in the Polish production of "Slave of Sin" in 1918. Her film career was becoming established. Her next film, later that year, was the highly acclaimed "Madame Du Barry" in 1919. It became an absolute sensation in Europe. The film was later released in the US as "Passion". The film was so well-received that she was given a contract to make films in Hollywood. Her USA career was off and running. In 1923 she landed the role of Maritana in "The Spanish Dancer". The film was popular with the public, who also liked"Bella Donna" and "The Cheat", made that same year. Negri's vamp roles were highly popular and she was a direct rival of Theda Bara. She made a spectacle of herself when, during the funeral of Rudolph Valentino, she threw herself on his coffin. Former fans felt she was acting in public and began to turn away from her.

The Hays Office, which regulated film content, would not allow her to portray the vamp roles that had made her famous elsewhere. Then the "talkie" revolution started. With her heavy accent, her dialogue did not come across well. She decided to return to Europe to spark her flagging career but returned to the US in 1941 owing to World War II. She made "Hi Diddle Diddle" (1943) and became a US citizen in 1951. Her final film was as Madame Habib in 1964's The Moon-Spinners (1964). Retiring to San Antonio, Texas she died on August 1, 1987 at the age of 90 from pneumonia related to a brain tumor for which she had refused treatment.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Family (1)

Spouse Prince Serge Mdivani (14 May 1927 - 2 April 1931)  (divorced)
Count Eugene Dombski (5 November 1919 - 1922)  (divorced)

Trivia (26)

She was engaged to Charles Chaplin before she became involved with Rudolph Valentino.
Around the time of her death, she was suffering from a brain tumor (unclear if malignant or otherwise) for which she refused treatment.
Sister-in-law of Mae Murray and Barbara Hutton.
On her deathbed in 1987, the 90-year-old Negri was being attended by a handsome young doctor who looked at her chart, and failed to respond immediately to seeing her name. In her best Norma Desmond mode, she reportedly pulled herself up into a "movie star" pose and asked, "You don't know who I am?!?!?".
In her autobiography, she stated that Rudolph Valentino was the love of her life and said that they were engaged at the time of his death. Ben Lyon later claimed that she ordered a blanket of flowers to be placed across Rudy's coffin, reading "P-O-L-A" in large letters. However, photographs of Valentino's funeral show that flowers draped over his coffin had no such lettering and no contemporary newspaper accounts support this claim.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986- 1990, pages 652-654. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
"Film Daily", Monday, July 3, 1939--Paris (by cable): Pola Negri appeared in court here on the weekend to ask 1,000,000-franc damages as the result of an article appearing in the "Paris Sun" newspaper which represented her as a friend of Adolf Hitler. She was described by two witnesses as having suffered much moral damage by the allegation. The actress remained silent throughout the proceedings, during which the paper's defense counsel tried to show that knowing Hitler was no slander.
When Rudolph Valentino died in August of 1926, Negri claimed to have been engaged to marry him, and set out from Hollywood by train to attend his funeral in New York. During the trip, Negri collapsed several times. The perception that she used her lover's death as a publicity stunt damaged her reputation.
Negri made eight films with director Ernst Lubitsch between 1918 and 1925. Seven were made in Germany and their eighth and final film together was Forbidden Paradise (1924), which was filmed in the United States.
Pola Negri was the first notable German actress to travel to the United States where she appeared in Bella Donna (1923). Her fame in Europe was quickly surpassed by her fame in America, and she achieved her greatest successes with Forbidden Paradise (1924) and Hotel Imperial (1927).
At the beginning of the war she stood in France, later she went back to the USA via Portugal where she appeared once more in a film called "Hi Diddle Diddle" (1943). She sailed to New York from Lisbon, Portugal, and initially lived by selling off jewelry.
Scandals in the 20's were absolute career killers, also Pola Negri's popularity sunk continuously, moreover her Polish accent was a problem for the arising sound film.
In 1975, director Vincente Minnelli approached Negri to appear as the Contessa Sanziani in A Matter of Time (1976), but Negri was unable to accept due to poor health. In 1978, Billy Wilder directed Fedora (1978). Although Negri does not appear in the film, the title character was largely based on her.
After some Polish film productions she went to Germany in 1917 where she achieved first glorious triumphs. The movies made one of the greatest stars of Pola Negri und she soon belonged together with Henny Porten and Asta Nielsen to the triumvirate of German artists.
In 1951 she got the American nationality and took up a second successful career as a relater.
The film Passion (1919) was also a great success in the United States, and Adolph Zukor contractually obligated her to Paramount.
She made her debut with Slave of Sin (1914), a film in which she personified the vamp archetype for which she would become famous.
According to her autobiography, she also appeared in a Boston supper club engagement in 1945 for a repertoire centered around the song "Paradise", and retired from the entertainment business altogether.
After her Hollywood forays, Pola Negri returned to Europe. She made a successful comeback in Germany with Mazurka (1935), and she was able to take part in Madame Bovary (1937), Tango Notturno (1937) and Night of Fate (1938) in the following years.
She made the headlines with her numerous affairs.
At the funeral of alleged lover, Rudolph Valentino, she collapsed with crying fits at the casket. Malicious tongues described this scene as her best performance of her career.
She made her debut at the theater in 1912 and got soon first leading roles.
Her marriage with Charles Chaplin announced in 1922, but nothing came of the announcement and their liaison ended with public insults.
In 1902 she attended a ballet school but was later impeded in dancing because of an illness. Therefore she adopted a different method and attended a theater school in Warsaw in order to become an actress.
In 1964, two decades after she retired from the screen, Negri accepted a pivotal supporting role in the Walt Disney thriller The Moon Spinners. She played an exotic millionairess to whom Haley Mills turns for help in solving a mystery. It proved to be Negri's final film appearance.
Like many a European actress imported to Hollywood in the silent film era, Negri achieved stardom based on her looks alone. Movie-goers had no idea that she spoke almost no English, and had a thick, gutteral Polish accent, which they would discover when Negri made her "talkie" debut...

Personal Quotes (3)

I consider my work great, as I am a great artist.
Damn sympathy! I don't care whether they love me or not. I don't care whether I am beautiful or not. I want a chance to act.
Love is disgusting when you no longer possess yourself.

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