Sybille Schmitz Poster


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Overview (2)

Born in Düren, Rhine Province, Prussia [now North Rhine-Westphalia], Germany
Died in Munich, Bavaria, Germany  (suicide by barbiturate poisoning)

Mini Bio (1)

The enigmatic actress remains one of the most interesting figures in German film. Although she achieved stardom early in her career, the tragic Sybille Schmitz could never fit in with her surroundings. Too "alien looking" for Hollywood, Schmitz never migrated to America like her more glamorous peers and began losing roles in her native Germany as well due to her vaguely Semitic appearance and ties to the Jewish community. After the war, like many former UFA stars, Sybille was seen as a painful reminder of the Third Reich and she was once more displaced by the optimistic "new look" actresses. With acting being her sole reason to thrive, Sybille Schmitz began to drink heavily and rely on drugs as her career sank lower and lower. She finally committed suicide under mysterious circumstances on April 13, 1955, while being "cared for" by a corrupt lesbian doctor she was living with at the time of her death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Harald G. Petersson (1940 - 1945) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

Her brooding large eyes.
Usually played mysterious women with tragic backstories.

Trivia (15)

Her tragic life after the end of World War II - struggling to get roles, drug addiction, suicide - inspired Rainer Werner Fassbinder to his acclaimed film Veronika Voss (1982).
While never officially "blacklisted" by the Nazi regime, filmmakers were discouraged from casting her in lead roles, which were by the end of the 1930s occupied by new blonde and blue eyed stars of the Third Reich. Sybille ended up being typecast as a femme-fatale or a tempting foreign woman.
Sybille Schmitz was married with the screenwriter Harald G. Petersson. The marriage broke up when Sybille Schmitz had a love affair with the theater chief Beate von Molo.
She became completely poor and committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. One year later there was brought an action against her lady doctor because of improper medical treatment.
The actress Sybille Schmitz attended an acting school in Cologne and got her first engagement at Max Reinhardt's Deutsches Theater Berlin in 1927.
After the war demanding roles nearly stopped for the expressive Sybille Schmitz. She appeared among others in the movies "Zwischen gestern und morgen" (1947), "Sensation im Savoy" (1950) and "Illusion in Moll" (1952), but her way back to the anonymity she repressed with drugs. It followed depressions and several attempted suicides, finally the committal to a psychiatric clinic.
The last years of Sybille Schmitz were used as basis for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's movie "Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss".
In 2000, she was the topic of a documentary titled Tanz mit dem Tod: Der Ufa-Star Sybille Schmitz (English: Dance with Death: The Ufa Star Sybille Schmitz), written and directed by Achim Podak.
Schmitz established herself as a prominent actress in the German cinema with the films which followed including Der Herr der Welt (1934), Abschiedswalzer (1934), Ein idealer Gatte (1935), and Fährmann Maria (1936).
She made her film debut with Freie Fahrt (1928), which attracted her first attention from the critics. Her other early movies include Pabst's Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), Dreyer's Vampyr (1932), and eventually F.P.1 (1932), where she played her first leading role.
She very often played self confident femme fatales.
At the time of her death, Sybille had been living in Munich with a woman named Ursula Moritz, a physician who allegedly sold her morphine at an inflated rate and kept Sybille doped up while squandering the little funds she had available to her. Schmitz's family claimed that once the actress proved to be of no use to Moritz, the "good doctor" facilitated her suicide.
After World War II, Schmitz hardly played interesting roles.
Coincidently, the last film she made less than two years before taking her own life (1953's Das Haus an der Küste, now considered a lost film) had Sybille's character committing suicide as a last act of desperation. A much earlier film, Frank Wisbar's Die Unbekannte (1936) ends with the suicide of Sybille's character, also in a final act of desperate hopelessness.
A ghostly vampire featured in one of the Vampire Hunter D novels is named Sybille Schmitz; a reference to Schmitz's vampiric role in Vampyr.

Personal Quotes (1)

I want to sleep. Forever.

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