Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Crying in the Rainier

Luise Rainier, dead at 104, after winning back to back Best Actress Oscars in the 1930s;
Rainer may well have sobbed herself to her first Oscar, playing actress Anna Held, wife of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, in The Great Ziegfeld. The film featured a classic telephone scene during which Anna, tears running down her face, congratulates her now ex-husband on his marriage to another actress. Her next Oscar was for playing a virtuous Chinese peasant in the screen adaptation of Pearl S Buck's epic novel The Good Earth.
Suddenly Rainer [born in Vienna in 1910] - now nicknamed the "Viennese Teardrop" - was famous, her beauty and emotional intensity winning many fans. But stardom, she later said, did not bring happiness.
Years later, she recalled how she had just had a fight with her husband, American playwright Clifford Odets, when she got word that she had won her second Oscar. In those days, winners were announced hours before the ceremony began.
"I hadn't even dreamed of getting another Academy Award, and there I was unhappy in my private life and miserable," she told the AP in 1999. "I remember Odets drove me three times around the Biltmore, where the Oscars were given out, because I was so full of tears."
That, and being passed over for the part of Maria (Ingrid Bergman got the role) in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Since she wouldn't be saying the earth moved, she moved to New York with Odets to work on Broadway. Though she did manage to do a Love Boat episode, much later in her career.


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