She used to call her daughter ‘the child’ and shaved years off her age for publicity purposes, causing her daughter much confusion as to what her actual age was.
She was the first German actress to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Marlene en Joseph von Sternberg made seven movies together.
Marlene was reportedly bisexual and is said to have had an affair with Mercedes de Acosta, who was previously linked to Greta Garbo.
Hitler really liked Marlene, but his Reich Minister of Propoganda Joseph Goebbels was especially a huge fan. He tried to get Marlene on their side for years, even sending Nazi’s to her house to try and persuade her. But Marlene was never tempted and responded by doing exactly the opposite: applying for American citizenship and entertaining troops overseas.
As an adult Marlene claimed to be an only child, even though she had an older sister. She did this because she did not want people to know that her sister had worked for the Nazi’s. Her sister, along with her husband and son, were in charge of a movie theater for Nazi officers and officials at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Dietrich interceded with Allied officials on behalf of her relatives, sheltering them from possible prosecution as Nazi collaborators.
She liked to brag about having slept with three men of the Kennedy clan: Joseph P. Kennedy and his sons Joseph P. Kennedy jr. and John F. Kennedy.
She only had one show business friend: Mae West. They loved to visit each other while they were on set, but never saw each other outside the Paramount lot.
Marlene was one of the first artists to use surgical tape to pull back the skin on her face, thus giving her a ‘facelift’. She hid the tape in her hairline or under a wig.
When Marlene was approaching her fifties, she fell in love with actor Yul Brynner, who was almost twenty years her junior. They had a passionate relationship for years. Yul would always remember her fondly, but according to her daughter, Marlene was very hateful towards him in her later years, even rejoicing at the fact that he had cancer.
Germans had a love-hate relationship with the actress. Many felt that she had abandoned Germany during WWII and that she had never done anything for the country. Because of this there were mixed feelings when she was buried in Berlin. It wasn’t until 2002 that she was made an honorary citizen, but even then there were protests.
Although she lend her voice to a famous documentary made about her in the eighties, her daughter later claimed she could not even remember doing it because of her alcohol abuse. Marlene was genuinely surprised when she heard her voice in the documentary and initially thought they had used an impersonator.
During her final years she had two telephones to talk to her friends across the world, spending up to $7,500 a month.
She hated the biographies that were written about her since she liked to keep a tight grip on her image.