Oscar Actors: Bergner, Elisabeth

Born Elisabeth Ettel on August 22, 1897 in Drohobycz, Poland; died 1986.

Bergner Made her stage debut in Zurich in 1919 and subsequently appeared in Vienna, Munich, Berlin, and on Broadway gaining an international reputation for her leading roles in plays directed by Max Reinhardt.

Her film career began in 1923 and was closely linked to that of her husband (from 1933), Dr. Paul Czinner, who directed most of her productions.

Bergner gained quite a following as the star of German films, but with Hitler's ascent to power she and Czinner moved to England in 1933, following virulent attacks on the Jewish Bergner in the Nazi press. She subsequently appeared in many London and Broadway plays and in several British and on American film. She became a British citizen in 1938.

At the height of her career she was called by Alexander Woollcott “probably the ablest actress living today.” She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “Escape Me Never” (1935). But her career after the early 1940s was confined to occasional stage and film appearances.

She published her memoirs: Bewundert viel und gescholten.

Oscar Alert

In 1935, Elisabeth Bergner competed for the Best Actress Oscar with Bette Davis (who won) for “Dangerous,” Claudette Colbert in “Private Worlds,” Katharine Hepburn in “Alice Adams,” Miriam Hopkins in “Becky Sharp,” and Merle Oberon in “The Dark Angel.”