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Thea von Harbou Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (25)

Overview (3)

Born in Tauperlitz, Döhlau, Bavaria, Germany
Died in Berlin, Germany  (aftermath of a fall)
Birth NameThea Gabriele von Harbou

Mini Bio (1)

Thea von Harbou was born on December 27, 1888 in Tauperlitz, Döhlau, Bavaria, Germany as Thea Gabriele von Harbou. She was a writer and director, known for Metropolis (1927), M (1931) and Woman in the Moon (1929). She was married to Fritz Lang and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. She died on July 1, 1954 in Berlin, Germany.

Spouse (2)

Fritz Lang (26 August 1922 - 26 April 1933) ( divorced)
Rudolf Klein-Rogge (1914 - 1921) ( divorced)

Trivia (25)

Thea von Harbou was married to the famous director Fritz Lang. He brought many of her scripts to the screen. In 1932, von Harbou joined the NSDAP, or Nazi Party. Lang, who was opposed to the Nazis, left her and emigrated to America. They divorced in 1933.
Was interned briefly following the end of the Second World War. Following her release, she went back into the film industry synchronizing foreign films. However, she was not as successful as before and her career ended in the early 1950s.
In 1954 one of her first movies - "Der müde Tod" (1921) - was shown in Berlin once more. Thea von Harbou was present as a guest of honor as well. When she left the cinema she slipped in such an unfortunate way that she died some days later as a result of the fall.
The novel "Metropolis" first appeared in the magazine Illustriertes Blatt, Frankfurt. The book was published by August Scherl Verlag GmbH.
The story of her death is the inspiration for Michel Fugain's hit single "La Vieille Dame" (1978), which was a huge success in France.
Toward the end of von Harbou's life, pain from high blood pressure, migraines, and neuralgia weakened her, though she continued to write or dictate from her bed.
Harbou and Klein-Rogge moved to Berlin in 1918 where the books of Harbou could be market much better. In 1919 she wrote her first script for a movie called "Die heilige Simplicia/Die Legende von der heiligen Simplicia" (1919) for director Joe May.
During the production of Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, Lang discovered von Harbou in bed with Ayi Tendulkar, an Indian journalist and student 17 years younger than she.
At the age of 18 Thea von Harbou got in touch with the theater for the first time as an actress. During one of her engagements she met the actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge and they got married in 1914.
In the 50s she could realize only three more scripts and wrote serials for German newspapers.
As a child she was educated in a convent by private tutors who taught her several languages as well as piano and violin. She was a child prodigy. Despite her privileged childhood, von Harbou wanted to earn a living on her own, which led her to become an actress despite her father's disapproval.
From July to October 1945, von Harbou was detained in Staumühle, a poorly-run British prison camp. Though many claim she had significant Nazi sympathies, von Harbou claimed she only joined the Nazi Party to help Indian immigrants in Germany like her husband. "Her direct work on behalf of the government consisted, she claimed, entirely of volunteer welding, making hearing aids, and emergency medical care. In fact, she received a medal of merit for saving people in two air raids".
Her first close interaction with cinema came when German director Joe May decided to adapt a piece of fiction, Die heilige Simplizia. From that moment forward, "Her fiction output slowed down. In short order she would become one of Germany's most celebrated film writers, not only because of her partnership with Fritz Lang, but also for writing scripts for F. W. Murnau, Carl Dreyer, E. A. Dupont, and other German luminaries".
Her brother, Horst von Harbou, went to work for UFA as a photographer and began to work closely with Thea and Fritz Lang on many of their most famous productions.
Several years after her death, Lang directed the film The Indian Tomb, based upon one of her novels.
Thea von Harbou was born into a family of minor nobility and government officials, which gave her a level of sophisticated comfort.
After attending a showing of Der müde Tod as a guest of honor in 1954, von Harbou suffered a hip injury in a fall.
The screen writer and author Thea von Harbou began her active career as an author very early. Already as a young girl she wrote different stories about animals for a province newspaper. She published first poems in 1902, the first novel followed in 1905 in the "Berliner Deutschen Zeitung" with the title "Wenn's Morgen wird". She became one of the most popular entertainment authors at the end of the empire and the Weimar Republic.
Thea von Harbou became the most important female screen writer of the German film and especially her collaboration with Fritz Lang assured her a place in the German film Olympus.
In prison she directed a performance of Faust and when released she worked as a Trümmerfrau (rubble woman) in 1945 and 1946.
After the end of the war she was interned for a short time by the British occupying forces, later she wrote synchronous scripts for the "Deutsche London Film" (The Third Man, The Thief of Bagdad).
Shortly after her divorce from Lang, von Harbou and Ayi Tendulkar contracted a clandestine marriage because the Nazi state did not permit someone of her public stature to marry a dark-skinned Indian.
Although her marriage with Fritz Lang came apart some years earlier because of Lang's liaison with the actress Gerda Maurus they only got a divorce in 1933 before Fritz Lang emigrated abroad when the National Socialists came into power.
One of her (Book) Roman was Der belagerte Tempei, Copyright 1917 Ullstein & Co.Berlin & Wien.
When Thea von Harbou could celebrate her first great literary success with "Die nach uns kommen" (1910) and "Der Krieg und die Frauen", she retired from the acting and concentrated to the art of writing.

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