Sex Symbol of the 1930s In a 1969 interview, Marlene Dietrich gives grandmotherly advice.

Marlene Dietrich was one of the most iconic sex icons of the 1930s. Her breakout performance in The Blue Angel (1930) was as the alluring cabaret artist Lola Lola. Her relocation to Hollywood after that picture secured her stardom in the talkies. Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and Jimmy Stewart were among the best male actors she worked with. Her blonde hair, bedroom eyes, and German accent became synonymous with the stereotype of the European vixen.

Publicity photo of Marlene Dietrich for the film Shanghai Express (1932)

However, when she was interviewed by Jay Kent Hackleman in 1969, her counsel to children was rather grandmotherly.Despite being one of the most beautiful screen sirens of her era, Dietrich was tough when it came to casting couch politics. She denied anything inappropriate had occurred, stating, “I have never used my body.” I’ve played roles where my legs and body were used, but I’ve never done that in real life.”

“Can’t succumb to adoration because people adore so many things,” she added. They also enjoy things you consider to be useless. As a result, you shouldn’t take anything too seriously.”On the subject of relaxing, the actress and singer had a unique perspective. “You see, there is no such word as’relax’ in our language, in German or in French,” she explained. This is a uniquely American invention.

Marlene Dietrich with a bouquet of flowers, 1962

We don’t have a sensation like the American has, ‘now it’s 7 o’clock or something and I have to take a drink and relax’. It is not required in Europe. He drinks because he enjoys it. In America, success means a lot to a man, and it also means a lot to his wife and family. There is a widespread misconception that success is synonymous with happiness. It doesn’t, as you know, because they don’t go together at all.”

She appeared to be arguing that if you chose a job you enjoy, you won’t need to relax after work, implying that folks in the rat race need to relax after work since they don’t enjoy their jobs.Perhaps her most meaningful lesson is about money, which Dietrich had amassed in her lifetime. Not only did she believe that Americans did not keep their possessions long enough to truly appreciate their value, but she also stated, “In Europe they have a car,

they have it 15 years and they polish it and wash it and they love it, but here people don’t love their cars because they know they will get another one next year.” Then everything is your fault. They don’t own it, so you buy far more than you need because it’s on credit, and it doesn’t make them happy. It simply does not. Possessions do not bring happiness.”

Marlene Dietrich in 1963

When asked if she was unhappy to be old, Hackleman answered, “I think irreversible things you cannot begrudge- if you have any bit of intelligence.”Her counsel and approach on life seem like things my grandmother would say, coming from a woman who toured the world, lived through two World Wars, and had a resumé we still talk about today.

Marlene Dietrich in 1953, postcard for the Sahara in Las Vegas

In fact, I’m sure most of our grandmothers have stated things like “money can’t buy happiness” and “try to age gracefully.” Dietrich, a grandmother at the age of 47, seemed to have been sitting on a lot of insightful comments for quite some time.

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