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Anny Ondra Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (19)

Overview (3)

Born in Tarnów, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now Tarnów, Malopolskie, Poland]
Died in Hollenstedt, Lower Saxony, Germany  (stroke)
Birth NameAnna Sophie Ondrakova

Mini Bio (1)

Anny Ondra was a Polish-Czech-Austrian-German-French singer and a film and stage actress. As a child she lived in Prague, where her father was a colonel in the Austro-Hungarian army. After graduating from convent school in Prague, she studied to be an actress with Professor Bor. She was already a star in the Czech theater when, at age 16, the teenage beauty was discovered by the film industry.

From 1920--mostly under the direction of Karel Lamac--she became a major comedic star in Czech cinema, and in 1928 she conquered German cinema. Historically, she was Alfred Hitchcock's first blonde, appearing in his film Blackmail (1929), which was England's--and Hitchcock's--first talking film (Hitchcock, knowing that not all theaters supported talkies, also shot a silent version of the film). In 1930 in Germany she created, with the help of Karel Lamac, the Ondra-Lamac Film Society, which lasted till 1936. She was in Die vom Rummelplatz (1930) ("Those of the Sideshow") but the film, was lost and remains so to this day.

She played in German-, Czech- and French-language versions of all her movies, always as the leading lady. She became an international cinema superstar and one of the most beloved of German film stars. She appeared in more than 88 films. She retired from the industry in 1957 and lived in Hollenstedt in der Lüneburger Heide, Germany (near Hamburg), with her husband, boxing champion Max Schmeling, whom she married in 1933.

She died in Hollenstedt and will never be forgotten by her fans.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Rudi Polt / rudipolt@aol.com (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Max Schmeling (6 July 1933 - 28 February 1987) ( her death)
Karel Lamac (? - ?) ( divorced)

Trivia (19)

When her husband, German boxer Max Schmeling, was defeated by American fighter Joe Louis, Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels sent a comforting telegram to him and a bunch of flowers to her.
At seventeen she played in the theater and was acting in her first film. The film was directed by her boyfriend, director Karel Lamac (Karell Lamatch). When her family heard of it, they had a shouting match in which the teenager got a beating from her father--to be an actress after the First World War was socially almost at the level of a beggar.
In 1933 she married the famous boxer Max Schmeling, with whom she also appeared in the movie "Knock-out" (1935). The marriage lasted till her death.
After the Ondra-Schmeling marriage, German fascists continually tried to exploit their fame and popularity. Often they were seen in photos with Goebbels and Hitler--Max as a German superman and Anny as a blond Aryan (Max was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932). But they never collaborated.
In 1929 she played in the movies "The Manxman" and "Blackmail - Erpressung", both directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
In the early 1920s, Anny Ondra appeared primarily in Czech silent movies. In the mid '20s, she also appeared often in German productions.
After the war, she and her husband were left without funds or assets. In 1949 they moved to Hollenstedt near Hamburg, where her husband started their business on land they owned. Later, Max Schmeling begun working for the Coca-Cola Company.
Ondra was a graduate of the convent school, and so her father found for her an official government position. But Anna decided otherwise, opting for a film career, and began to live with Karel Lamac. "I swim like a fish, ride like a cowboy, and I would do it all if the film required it," summarized the nineteen-year-old lady.
She was given the Honorary German Film Award in 1970.
Ondra was buried in the Saint Andreas Friedhof cemetery in Hollenstedt, Germany. Her husband, Max Schmeling, died in 2005 and was buried next to her. The heritage of Anny and Max has been referred to as the Max-Schmeling-Stiftung Foundation.
Brave Max Schmeling refused to accept Nazi honors and even secretly helped to hide two Jewish children, saving their lives. In Nazi Germany, this was a capital offense. After the war, they were penalized financially and an arrest warrant was issued for them in the Czech Republic. That was the reason why Schmeling never visited the homeland of Anny Ondra. The Nazi propaganda won.
Ondra was portrayed by Britt Ekland in the television movie Ring of Passion (1978), wherein the character was named "Amy Ondra Schmeling". She was also portrayed by Peta Wilson in the historical boxing docudrama Joe and Max (2002).
Together with Karel Lamac she founded her own film company in 1930 and produced movies in Germany. She especially concentrated on operetta movies.
From 1919 she worked primarily with director Karel Lamac. With the movie "Gilly po prve v Praze - Gilly zum ersten Mal in Prag" (1920) she became established as a European star.
Ondra miscarried after a car accident in 1936 and could no longer have children.
She wanted to start a family, but Lamac did not want to marry. So, after a three-year romance, on 6 July 1933 Ondra married German boxer Max Schmeling, with whom she appeared in the film Knockout (1935). Their marriage was a happy one, although childless.
Lamac remained her friend for a lifetime. He died in her arms in 1952 in Hamburg.
Ondra's career in the UK was hurt by the introduction of talking pictures. Ondra's thick accent was considered unacceptable. When the movie Blackmail was remade with sound her dialogue was recorded by actress Joan Barry.
An amusing test film has survived of Hitchcock "interviewing" Ondra, in which the director teases the actress and asks her some personal questions.

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