Christiane Schmidtmer

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Christiane Schmidtmer (born December 24, 1939 in Mannheim ; † March 13, 2003 in Heidelberg ) was a German actress and model of the 1960s and 1970s.


Childhood and youth

Christiane Schmidtmer was born in Mannheim in 1939 and grew up there, then later in Heidelberg . Her father Jakob Schmidtmer disappeared in Russia as a soldier in World War II.

Her mother attached great importance to a good school education for her daughter and at the age of 17 made it possible for her to attend the recognized St. Giles School in London , where Christiane Schmidtmer was able to perfect her English. During her stay there, she met an influential British nobleman from the immediate vicinity of the royal family who wanted to enable her to attend the royal art academy in exchange for sexual favors. She packed her bags overnight and returned to Germany.

After returning to Heidelberg, she attended the Hölderlin grammar school there , where she graduated from high school in the late 1950s.

Early career

Against the wishes of her mother - who wanted her daughter to have a medical career - Christiane Schmidtmer moved to Munich in 1959 and began a two-year acting training there. During this time she performed in afternoon shows for children. After her training, she had her first theater engagements in Bad Kreuznach and Düsseldorf from 1961 , including at the Theater an der Berliner Allee in Marc Camoletti's play Boeing Boeing . In 1962 she made her debut at the Berlin theaters in Hermann Moer's Der Klinkenputzer .

The first film and television work followed from 1963, including in the series Hafenpolizei and the German television crime thriller Ein death is being prepared . International reputation it gained for the first time with the refugee drama late in Marienborn by Rolf Hädrich . She met Oscar winner José Ferrer while filming in Berlin and England . A very close friendship developed between the two, which lasted until Ferrer's death in 1992. José Ferrer later played a key role in Christiane Schmidtmer's Hollywood success.

In 1964 Max Factor Cosmetics became aware of the young actress and hired her exclusively as a cover model. After the presentation at the New York World's Fair in the same year and a tour through the United States with performances - among others - in Chicago , Las Vegas and Los Angeles , Hollywood signaled interest for the first time.

Hollywood career

José Ferrer then recommended Christiane Schmidtmer to Stanley Kramer for his production of Das Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools). At the side of world stars like Vivien Leigh (in her last film role), Simone Signoret , Lee Marvin , Oskar Werner , Heinz Rühmann and José Ferrer, she played his beautiful lover. The film later won two Academy Awards. At the same time, Columbia Pictures - who produced the film - asked Christiane Schmidtmer to change her name to one that was easier for Americans to pronounce. However, she refused on the grounds that she did not want to irritate her German fans.

In Germany she was quickly known as the "love bomb", a nickname that has been with her throughout her career. In the USA, too, the Americans called her “Love Bomb” in the years that followed. She probably owed this nickname to her appearance. With her long blond hair, bright blue eyes and large bust - which went down in Hollywood annals as the largest natural breasts in international film - she quickly became the epitome of the stereotypical German " Miss Wonder ". Later in Hollywood, this not only brought her advantages, because she was often reduced to the beautiful, blonde sex bomb in the roles offered to her .

After appearing in The Ship of Fools , Stanley Kramer recommended her to producer Hal B. Wallis for his comedy Boeing-Boeing . The German public should Christiane Schmidtmer mainly in the role of the beautiful, sexy today Lufthansa - stewardess be Lise Bruner remembered. In this comedy (based on the play of the same name by Marc Camoletti ), she played alongside Tony Curtis , Jerry Lewis and Thelma Ritter one of three enchanting stewardesses, each of whom considers himself the only mistress of the American playboy Bernard Lawrence, who lives in Paris . The other two stewardesses of Air France and British United were played by the French Dany Saval and the British Suzanna Leigh . The shooting took place in Paris from the beginning of April to the end of June 1965 . During this time Schmidtmer was in a relationship with a Parisian banker.

After her return to Los Angeles, she met the polyglot language teacher and publisher Michel Thomas for the first time in August 1965 at the Chateau Marmont Hotel . The two began a long love affair a short time later.

Christiane Schmidtmer had reached the zenith of her film career. A bikini named after her "The Schmidtmer" was sold in Malibu, US critics described her as the most exciting German import since Marlene Dietrich and Hal Wallis offered her a seven-year contract for his films and at the same time the female lead in the Elvis Presley film Südsee - Paradise (Paradise, Hawaiian Style). However, she declined and left the role to Suzanna Leigh, her film colleague from Boeing-Boeing . However, she had a liaison with Presley a few years later.

After Schmidtmer was photographed by the US magazine Modern Man in November 1965 , Mario Casilli photographed her in March 1966 for the US edition of Playboy . Her pictures were very erotic, but not quite as revealing as those of other Playmates, only her half-naked torso could be seen. In the following years, Schmidtmer shot mainly for US television series.

In 1969 she returned to Germany to appear in the Roy Black movie comedy Our Doctor is the Best . In 1971 she became a cult film queen through her participation in the low-budget movie The Big Doll House , in which she played a mysterious and evil prison director. After another US television film ( Scream Pretty Peggy ) at the side of Bette Davis , Christiane Schmidtmer turned back to the theater and took on a role in the comedy How about Mrs. Markham by Ray Cooney .

In addition to film and television work, Christiane Schmidtmer appeared increasingly on US talk shows during the late 1970s. For example, she was often a guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show . In 1980 she published her autobiography under the title Meine wilden Nights in Hollywood - A film star unpacks in the German magazine Neue Revue . Her last screen appearance followed in 1981, as a nymphomaniac piano teacher in Eis am Stiel 3 - Liebeleien . However, she was still active for a few years as a voice actress, for example in Indiana Jones and the last crusade in 1989.

Retreat into private life

After her last film appearance, Christiane Schmidtmer, who was withdrawn and lived alternately in the USA and Heidelberg, fell silent. She was only active in public for animal welfare . In the early 1990s she worked as a real estate agent in Southern California, making millions in sales. In 1994, her Los Angeles apartment was completely destroyed in a fire. All demo tapes and many memorabilia from Hollywood fell victim to the flames. In the following years she invested a lot of time and energy in getting her collection back. In 1995 she gave one last major interview for Glamor Girls: Then and Now magazine, for the first time after retiring from the film business .

A short time afterwards Christiane Schmidtmer moved back to Heidelberg to live there with her now widowed mother. Her own health deteriorated during this time.

In an accident while walking her dog, Schmidtmer sustained severe arm and shoulder injuries, which then required major operations over a year. On March 13, 2003 - Christiane Schmidtmer, who was now severely weakened - died at the age of 63 in her parents' house in Heidelberg. She left parts of her collection of Hollywood memories to the German Film Museum in Frankfurt am Main. Most of her estate has been managed by her biographer Dirk Berger since her mother's death in January 2016. She was buried in the family grave at the Handschuhsheim cemetery in Heidelberg.


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