Lilian Harvey (January 19, 1906 — July 27, 1968) was a British-born actress and singer, long-based in Germany.
Lilian Helen Muriel Pape was born in Hornsey, North London. Her mother was English and her father was a German businessman.
At the beginning of World War I they were living in Magdeburg and were unwilling and unable to return to England, so Harvey was sent to live with an aunt at Solothurn in Switzerland. After her graduation from school in 1923, she began her career by attending the dance and voice school of the Berlin State Opera.
In 1924, Lilian Harvey received her first role as the young Jewish girl "Ruth" in the film Der Fluch directed by Robert Land. Subsequently, she starred in many silent films. In 1925, she was cast in her first leading role in the film Leidenschaft.
Because of her training as a singer, Harvey was able to pursue a successful acting career during the initial talkie era of the early 1930s. Her first movie with Willy Fritsch was Die keusche Susanne in 1926. Harvey and Fritsch became the "dream couple" of German movies in the early 1930s with the romantic love story Liebeswalzer. They starred in a total of 11 movies together, and Harvey was called the "sweetest girl in the world" by the press.
In 1931, Harvey starred in the film Der Kongreß tanzt; her song "Das gibt's nur einmal" was popular. Her subsequent movies were filmed in English and French versions, so Harvey became known outside of Germany. She was invited to Hollywood and made four movies for The Fox Film Corporation, but these were not as successful as her German films. She eventually abandoned George White's 1935 Scandals, leading executives to cast Alice Faye in the part, and Faye became an overnight sensation.
In 1935, Lilian Harvey returned to Germany. However, because she was still in touch with her Jewish colleagues, she was placed under close observation by the Gestapo. Nevertheless, until 1939, she made some successful movies for the UFA, such as Glückskinder (1936), Sieben Ohrfeigen, and Fanny Eisler (1937), Capriccio; and Frau am Steuer (1939).
Harvey helped the choreographer Jens Keith escape to Switzerland; this led to her interrogation by the Gestapo, after which she left Germany, without her real-estate fortune, which was confiscated by the Nazis.
She settled in Juan-les-Pins in France. There, she made two movies in 1940 – Serenade and Miquette. After the occupation of southern France, she emigrated to Hollywood again. Because she had performed for French troops, the Nazi regime withdrew her German citizenship in 1943.
After World War II
After the Second World War, Harvey returned to Paris. In the following years, she travelled as a singer through Scandinavia and Egypt. In 1949, she returned to Germany and performed on stage. From 1953 to 1957, she was married to Danish theatre agent Hartvig Valeur-Larsen.
In 1953 she had married the Danish theatre agent Hartvig Valeur-Larsen, but she divorced him in 1957. She had met Else 'Pitty' Wirth through Tamara Streck. Wirth was Streck's lover and she answered Harvey's correspondence and did other small jobs for her. When Harvey invited Wirth and Streck to her house, Streck made sexual advances to Harvey and was thrown out. Else Wirth stayed and became Harvey's companion in life. From 1957 until 1961 Harvey queitly lived with Wirth at Juan-les-Pins. Wirth's influence over Harvey grew and her enemies stated that she blackmailed Harvey with details that she knew from her life.
In 1961 she returned to the theatre, but the public and the critics were less than enthousiastic. In 1967 she received a Bambi for her work. But by that time she addicted to alcohol and she died in 1968 at age 62 from liver failure. Else Wirth inherited her fortune. In 1985 she an accusation of fraud was made against her and biographer Uwe Klöckner-Draga called her a devil. But she lived comfortable from Harvey's money until she died in 2007 and she was buried beside her at the Cimetière de Rabiac in Antibes. She was buried at the Robiac Cemetery in Antibes.
A List of Her Movie Career:
1924 – Der Fluch –
1924 – Die Motorbraut – Lee Perry's Double in Switzerland
1925 – Leidenschaft – Die Liebschaften der Hella von Gilsa
1925 – Der Fluch – Ruth
1925 – Liebe und Trompetenblasen – Komtesse Maria Charlotte
1925 – Die Kleine vom Bummel – Die 'Kleine'
1926 – Prinzessin Trulala – Prinzessin Trulala
1926 – Die keusche Susanne – Jacqueline
1926 – Vater werden ist nicht schwer – Harriet
1927 – Die tolle Lola – Tänzerin Tilly Schneider aka Lola Cornero
1927 – Eheferien – Hella
1927 – Du sollst nicht stehlen –
1928 – Eine Nacht in London – Aline Morland
1928 – Ihr dunkler Punkt – Lilian von Trucks/Yvette
1929 – Rund um die Liebe –
1929 – Adieu Mascotte – Mascotte
1929 – Wenn Du einmal Dein Herz verschenkst –
1930 – Liebeswalzer [MLV] – Princess Eva
1930 – The Love Waltz [MLV] – Princess Eva
1930 – Hokuspokus [MLV] – Kitty Kellermann
1930 – The Temporary Widow [MLV] – Princess Eva
1930 – Die Drei von der Tankstelle [MLV] – Lilian Cossmann
1930 – Le chemin du paradis [MLV] – Liliane Bourcart
1930 – Einbrecher [MLV] – Reneé
1931 – Princesse! à vos ordres! [MLV] – La princesse Marie-Christine
1931 – Nie wieder Liebe [MLV] – Gladys O'Halloran
1931 – Calais-Douvres [MLV] – Gladys O'Halloran
1931 – Der Kongreß tanzt [MLV] – Christel Weinzinger, Gloves-seller
1931 – Le Congrès s'amuse [MLV] – Christine "Christel" Weizinger
1932 – Zwei Herzen und ein Schlag [MLV] – Jenny
1931 – La fille et le garçon [MLV] – Jenny Berger/Ria bella
1932 – Quick – German [MLV] – Eva
1932 – Quick – French [MLV] – Christine Dawson
1932 – Ein blonder Traum [MLV] – Jou-Jou
1932 – Un rêve blond [MLV] – Joujou
1932 – Happy Ever After [MLV] – Jou-Jou
1933 – Ich und die Kaiserin [MLV] – Juliette
1933 – Moi et l'Impératrice [MLV] – Juliette
1933 – My Lips Betray – Lili Wieler
1933 – My Weakness – Looloo Blake
1933 – I Am Suzanne – Suzanne
1934 – The Only Girl [MLV] – Juliette
1935 – Let's Live Tonight – Kay Routledge aka Carlotta
1935 – Invitation to the Waltz – Jenny Peachey
1935 – Schwarze Rosen [MLV] – Tania Fedorovna
1935 – Roses noires [MLV] – Tatiana
1935 – Black Roses – Tania Fedorovna
1936 – Glückskinder [MLV] – Ann Garden & Jackson's Niece
1936 – Les gais lurons [MLV] – Ann Garden
1937 – Sieben Ohrfeigen – Daisy Terbanks – Astor's Daughter
1937 – Fanny Elßler – Fanny Elßler
1938 – Capriccio – Madelone aka Don Juan
1939 – Castelli in aria [MLV] – Annie Wagner detta 'Mimì'
1939 – Frau am Steuer – Maria Kelemen
1940 – Sérénade – Margaret Brenton
1940 – Miquette – Miquette Grandier