Ilse Werner

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Ilse Werner, 1961

Ilse Werner , bourgeois Ilse Charlotte Still (born July 11, 1921 in Batavia , Dutch East Indies ; † August 8, 2005 in Lübeck ), was a German actress , singer , voice actress and art whistle of German-Dutch origin who had her greatest successes with films had during the Third Reich .


Ilse Werner was born as Ilse Charlotte Still on Java in what was then the Dutch East Indies . Her father was a Dutch plantation owner and a wealthy export merchant. The mother Lilli (née Werner) was German. After the economic loss of the plantation, the family moved relatively impoverished to Frankfurt am Main in 1931 and to Vienna in 1934 . After graduating from school, Werner attended the drama school of the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna and since then has been using the stage name "Ilse Werner".

In 1947 Ilse Werner married the American journalist John de Forest in Vienna, with whom she then lived in Munich. In autumn 1949 she went with him to the USA and lived first in New York and then in Danville (California) . In the spring of 1952 the couple separated and Werner went back to Germany. On August 13, 1954, Ilse Werner married the composer Josef Niessen in Bad Wiessee , who separated from her in 1966.

Ilse Werner spent the last years of her life withdrawn and impoverished in a senior citizens' home in Lübeck. She was supported by prominent friends, including Karl Dall and Wolfgang Völz  . She died in 2005 at the age of 84 years at a pneumonia . At her own request, Ilse Werner was buried as a former Ufa star in Potsdam-Babelsberg on August 24, 2005 in the cemetery on Goethestrasse.


In 1937 Ilse Werner made her debut in the theater in der Josefstadt in the play Glück and received her first film role in the Austrian Intergloria film Die unruhigen Mädchen (1938). The film premiered on February 11, 1938 in Vienna. Then Werner was taken under contract by the UFA . The film Request Concert (1940) made Ilse Werner a rising star.

At that time, going to the cinema made the war temporarily forgotten. Impressively played characters therefore helped the actress to great popularity. Ilse Werner won many sympathies with her roles in the Jenny Lind epic The Swedish Nightingale (1941), in Helmut Käutner's We Make Music (1942) and in the Lügenbaron story Münchhausen (1943). She received her most demanding acting role in Helmut Käutner's Hamburg homage Great Freedom No. 7 (1944). During the war, she moderated the popular TV show We send Frohsinn - we donate joy, broadcast live once or twice a week for the television station Paul Nipkow .

Her involvement in the National Socialist film industry, in the radio broadcast request concert for the Wehrmacht of the Reich broadcaster in Berlin and in looking after the troops on the “home front” led to a temporary ban after the war. Werner worked as a voice actress for about four years. She spoke among others Olivia de Havilland in Robin Hood, King of the Vagabonds , Paulette Goddard in Pirates in the Caribbean Sea and Maureen O'Hara in The Pirate .

Her first post-war film, Mysterious Depth , directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst in 1948, proved to be an artistic and commercial failure. Werner was also unable to build on his old successes with the films that followed, as the type of woman she had embodied had meanwhile gone out of fashion. The Lady of the Sölderhof (1955) was her last movie. In the same year, the native Dutch woman took on German citizenship.

In the years that followed, Werner mainly played on stage. In 1969/70 she shone in her favorite role Anna in the musical The King and I in the Stadttheater Bremerhaven (with Ferdinand Dux as King of Siam). Furthermore, she appeared with show and song programs on smaller stages and had repeatedly appeared in television shows and series.

In 1989 she took on the role of Aunt Ella, the sister of Wolf Kremer, played by Hellmut Lange , in the eleven-part ZDF series Rivalen der Rennbahn , whom she supports in the racing team. After various roles in television films and series, she appeared again in 1990 in Die Hallo-Sisters, alongside Harald Juhnke and Gisela May, in front of the film camera. In the absence of a film distributor, the film was only shown on television. In 2000 she played in Tatort: ​​Bitter Almonds the grandmother of Cologne Chief Inspector Freddy Schenk .

The composer Werner Bochmann recognized a special musical ability of Ilse Werner: her whistling talent. In the early 1940s she was already active as a hit singer and art piper . Werner later also used this skill as a musical singer. The small town wants to go to sleep , we make music , my heart has its premiere today and the hit Baciare , which made it a comeback in 1960, are associated with its name. When Ilse Werner wanted to record the song Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson , the composer Martin Böttcher wrote her the complete arrangement within 56 hours after listening to an old shellac record, because at that time no sheet music for the title was available.

In a recording of Ohne Dich der Ärzte she was represented with a whistle solo. She also worked with Max Raabe , with whom she recorded Once Upon a Time a Musician . In 2004 she recorded a new version of We make music together with the Lisa Bassenge Trio . In September 2002, the Schwerter Operettenbühne performed several stage versions of the film The stars light up, in which Werner had guest appearances on September 13 and 14, during which she sang and whistled.


movie theater

Television (selection)

Stage appearances

Radio plays

  • 1953: Sir Michael's Adventure - Director: Ludwig Cremer
  • 1965: Duel for Aimée - Director: Heinz-Günter Stamm
  • 1965: The first day of spring - Director: Heinz-Günter Stamm
  • 2000: Wedding in Las Vegas - Director: Annette Kurth

Synchronous activity

Synchronous year Movie title role actor Year of shooting
1948 Laura (first dubbing) Laura Gene Tierney 1944
1949 Under the sign of Zorro Inez Quintero Gale Sondergaard 1940
1949 The buccaneer Helen Chester Margaret Lindsay 1942
1950 The pirate Margaret Denby Maureen O'Hara 1943
1950 Christopher Columbus Beatrice de Peraza Linden Travers 1949
1950 Buffalo Bill - The white Indian Luisa Frederici Cody Maureen O'Hara 1944
1950 Robin Hood, King of the Vagabonds Maid Marian Olivia de Havilland 1938
1950 The Queen from Broadway Sally Elliot Rita Hayworth 1942
1950 Pirates in the Caribbean Sea Loxi Claiborne Paulette Goddard 1942
1952 Women robbery in Morocco Mahla Jody Lawrence 1951
1952 Texas Border Police Helen Fenton Gale Storm 1952
1967 The bloody west Dakota Lil Joan Caulfield 1966

Discography (selection)

Chart placements
Explanation of the data
  DE 28 11/01/1959 (16 weeks)
That can all change
  DE 37 04/01/1961 (8 weeks)
I want to go to Paris too
  DE 50 07/01/1961 (4 weeks)


  • 1965: We make music - new recordings 1965, Baccarola
  • 1976: Ilse Werner - new recordings 1976, Hansa
  • 1984: It sounds like a whistle - with Hady Wolff on the electronic Böhm organ , Elite Special
  • 1999: Ilse Werner (best of album) ZYX Music.
  • 2011: Ilse Werner - Pfeifen muss ich (all published records 1944-53 plus an unpublished recording. Edition Berliner Musenkinder, duo-phon.)


  • 1940: The small town wants to go to sleep / If you ever like a girl - Odeon, O-26435 a / b
  • 1941: Yes, that's my melody / Nobody sings like Eduard - Odeon
  • 1941: Sing a song - when you're sad - Odeon, O-26447
  • 1942: You and I in the moonlight / This will be a spring without end - Odeon, O-26467 a / b
  • 1942: We make music / When will you be with me again? - Odeon, O-26543 a / b
  • 1942: I have you and you have me ... - Odeon, O-26544 b
  • 1943: Otto / Wer whistles was - Odeon, O-26624 a / b
  • 1943: It can't go on like this! - Odeon, O-26575 a
  • 1957: Big city melody / Seven times - Philips
  • 1959: Love without end / Baciare - Ariola
  • 1959: Just by accident / A happy girl - Ariola
  • 1959: Nick Nack Song / Liebe (Love Is All We Need) - Ariola
  • 1960: Capito / A little bliss - Ariola
  • 1960: That can all change / Cowboy, take your hat - Ariola
  • 1961: Little Fink / Carousel d'Amour - Ariola
  • 1961: We make music / I have you and you have me - Odeon
  • 1962: Oh Polly Ticca / The posh lady - Ariola
  • 1962: Tino, it's not the vino / tango tavern - Ariola
  • 1963: I would also like to go to Paris / Herzeli - Telefunken
  • 1971: What are 50 years / That's how it was - Ariola
  • 1986: The hourglass of life / music will always exist - Esperanza
  • 2003: Life can be much nicer (duet with Bert Beel) / And the sky above us (solo) / Dance with me through the night (Bert Beel) - Rubin Records, Maxi-CD



Web links

Commons : Ilse Werner  - Collection of images and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ilse Werner: It will never be like that again. Kiel 1991. 2nd edition, caption for picture 17
  2. Ilse Werner, p. 185.
  3. Ilse Werner: It will never be like this again ..., p. 190f.
  4. Ilse Werner, p. 199
  5. Ilse Werner: Caption for Fig. 21
  6. Ilser Werner, p. 215
  7. Grave of Ilse Werner.
  8. Chart sources: DE