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Meine Mutter Marlene
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Meine Mutter Marlene

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  546 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"Schreibe ein Buch über mich. Nur Du kannst es. Die ganze Wahrheit. Aber erst nach meinem Tod." Dieses Buch legt Maria Riva, die Tochter Marlene Dietrichs, nun vor. Sie schildert die außergewöhnliche Lebensgeschichte des großen Stars und zugleich die von starken Emotionen geprägte Beziehung zwischen Mutter und Tochter.
Published (first published 1992)
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The pretension of writing about Marlene Dietrich is annoying. It's a book about Marlene Dietrich's daughter's love for the USA and struggle to be "American". The attitude Riva has toward any aspect of her mother's character, any conflict in her mother's life, any aspect of her career or a relationship-- predictable with almost complete accuracy based on whether it's something that seems "European" (such as lascivious behavior with other women) and Riva justifying her hatred for her mother based ...more
Being a huge movie buff/nerd, this book is a really great, though somewhat exhausting chronicle of La Dietrich's life, told from the point of view of her daughter, Maria Riva. Refreshingly, Maria's not coming from a "Mommie Dearest" kind of place, although neither is she shy about showing the not-so-glam points of her famous, sometimes cold and very German mother. Every film she did is chronicled, and it's so fun to learn about the trivia that went into making each one, especially her relationsh ...more
Samantha Glasser
There are great autobiographies or memoirs written by friends of celebrities that consist of personal information and small tidbits that greatly interest readers. Then there are biographies, often more informational and objective than autobiographies. This book is composed of both which makes it one of the best books about a celebrity around.

Maria Riva is the daughter of legend Marlene Dietrich, an androgynous star of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. One would believe that a daughter would be the m
Truly amazing biography worthy of its reputation. An 800-page examination of the life of a sociopathically narcissistic nymphomaniac from her glamorous forty-year prime through her falling-off-the-stage alcoholism to her final decade (!) spent entirely in bed with a hot plate and a Limoges pitcher to pee in. It's impossible not to feel bad for the daughter who spent her entire life as a servant and punching bag for a glittery, undeniably fabulous monster.
Don LaFountaine
This book described the life of Marlene Dietrich through the eyes of her daughter. It made for some interesting insights into the life and actions of this acclaimed actress. Reading about the unconventional marriage, relationships, and beliefs of this movie star kept me shaking my head. Though I have not seen too many of her films, one gets the impression that she did not make too many good ones. Most of them seemed to be described as fair to poor. Maybe she lasted long because of her beauty, or ...more
Gabriella Patanè
I'd like to spend few words about this book, because I'm appalled by Maria Riva's will to destroy the myth her mother was, and still is, by telling outrageus stories and secrets she'd better have took with her into the grave, the day she'll die. I'm not saying that Marlene was flawless, but I think the role of a biographer is that to write about a human being, about the good and the bad moments this particular human being had lived and actions made, but always with respect of the dead. There are ...more
One of the very best Hollywood memoirs - actually quite well written, full of genuine respect but also packed to the brim with often sordid displays of utter selfishness. Dietrich orchestrated every single moment of her life - there's something very...not human about that. Was Dietrich from another planet!? Conspiracy theory.
C.S. Burrough
Jul 11, 2014 C.S. Burrough rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans
I had to read this account of the woman seen through her daughter's eyes. I knew this was no trashy Mommie Dearest act of vengeance, having pored over mainstream reviews. I found Maria Riva's efforts commendable. Marlene was something else, onscreen and off. Imagine a night on the tiles with her, Berlin, circa 1920-something.

Born in 1901 in Schöneberg, now a district of Berlin, Dietrich studied violin, becoming interested in theatre and poetry as a teenager. Her first job, in 1922, was playing v
Evanston Public  Library
In this razor-sharp biography written by Maria Riva—Marlene Dietrich’s daughter—we are given a circumspect portrait of Dietrich’s multifaceted character. Surprisingly conventional in the domestic realm, Dietrich cooked sauerkraut and potatoes like a Prussian housewife; held a traditional (if not skewed) view of the husband as the “head of the household”; and took a hands-on, no-nonsense approach to practical matters that allowed her, for instance, to ingeniously deliver a stuck calf from its bir ...more
The best parts of this biography ("biography") are actually the descriptions of the clothes. I read it when I was like 13, and I still retain the memory of the clothes. Other standouts:

Dietrich and Mae West being friends (because of course!).
I think at one point Riva tries to paint Garbo as a Dietrich wannabe? No.
For Kismet, Dietrich had her hair pulled back so tightly that her scalp bled.
Dietrich was originally called Madeline or Mary Madeline (but spelled like a German would spell i
Mary Narkiewicz
I'm reading this biography now.. a bird's eye view of Marlene Dietrich as seen through the eyes of her beloved daughter..

I don't know that I'd like Marlene..who knows.. but I can't put the book down.. She didn't seem to care at all for our animal and bird friends except for having their fur and feathers to decorate her body for her films.. and Maria's dogs kept disappearing..

Still, though this is opposed to everything I believe, I read on because of the amazing revelations about this movie sta
While this is foremost a biography (and not a very flattering one) of Marlene Dietrich, it's also a memoir of what it's like to be the daughter of an overbearing, vain, and selfish world famous celebrity. The author, Dietrich's daughter, had an interesting life because of her mother's fame, but a very difficult one as well. I see most reviewers here on Goodreads are giving this book a better rating than I am, and I think that's probably because I'm not really the intended audience for a book lik ...more
Probably one of the best written classic Hollywood tell-alls. I'm not a fan of Marlene Dietrich, but she led a very interesting life in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her daughter was very observant about what went on and the price and pitfalls of fame. It's very sad what happened to Marlene later, as she became a victim of the Hollywood machine and her own stardom.
Delia Wynne
Reminiscent of Detour by Cheryl Crane (Lana Turner's daughter) but much more tiring (filled with minutia). It doesn't help that I sympathized much less with this spoiled Hollywood kid who was not abused nor neglected.
Rather a long tome and in some parts heaving going. But playing "guess the celebrity" was intriguing and I enjoyed hearing from the daughters POV.
Manuela Kohl
It is a very interesting base with a lot of information which you may get between the lines.
I first read this book at age 14 and was totally captivated. 13 years later it is still one of the best biographies I've ever read. It completely captures the spirit of 1930s/40s Hollywood and it's filled with brilliant anecdotes and cameos from Hollywood's greatest stars. At the same time it's incredibly revealing, not always complimentary about it's subject (written by the overlooked daughter, what can you expect?) but as a 14-year-old one thing was very clear to me: Marlene Dietrich was FABUL ...more
Freaky-deaky... truly. If I had to choose between Joan Crawford or Marlene Dietrich as a parent... I might just choose Joan! It was fascinating though... even if it did give my nightmares. This was a women who couldn't really sing or act... but became an icon in both worlds. The emotional control she wielded over those around her... and that which she allowed others to wield against her was amazing. ...Lots of great insight to the people and happenings of the Golden Age of Hollywood though.
After reading Dietrich's autobiography, one is convinced of her near sainthood. This account shatters the illusion of her carefully manufactured image, revealing a highly manipulative and self absorbed, albeit determined and hard working persona. The dish is deep! The amount of detail given to the recollection of production design and costume in this biography is impressive, such as a page long delineation of different kinds of lace used for the numerous veils throughout Dietrich's film career.
Jul 17, 2007 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves juicy Hollywood gossip
Shelves: biography
Truth to tell, I never even saw too many of Marlene Dietrich's movies (I saw Witness for the Prosecution, and Touch of Evil, in which she had a cameo, but that's about it), but this book was a really good time -- full of juicy, bitchy gossip about lots of old Hollywood legends. I don't know how accurate a lot of it is -- Maria Riva has detailed recollections of pedestrian conversations that happened around 60 years previously -- but a lot of the gossip is documented, and man, is it fun to read.
Someone has to be interesting for me to read nearly 800 pages about them. In a parallel universe I would have been very content emptying out 88 year old Marlene Dietrich's buckets of pee and spending the afternoon eating sauerkraut heated on a hot plate with her. I even would put lotions on her useless, crippled chicken legs. We would have been very happy together. Plus this book has it all! Nazis! Scrambled eggs! Lady lovers! Man lovers! Song and dance! And radium implants!
I'm more of a Garbo fan and had found it hard to get as interested in Dietrich's life. A few other bios were tossed aside unfinished, but this one - told by her daughter - had me flipping the pages and completely absorbed. I didn't warm up much to Dietrich as a person or an actress, but as a memoir of a famous and odd actress, it was a riveting read.

Plus Marlene also apparently nailed General James Gavin during her patriotic shows for the boys in WW2. Who knew?
Izzy Rey
Very well written. You get a feel for the persona and for the woman. There are lots of tales about celebrities with whom Marlene worked and played. Malrene is made out to be a caricature sometimes, but it makes the book more fun than if Maria got all sentimental about her mummy and started worshiping. A fun read, but not always funny. Dietrich throwing up her food after dinner, sleeping with men and women, talking smack about everyone...good times.
Inez Parra
this book is so goddamn long it feels as though you've lived life right alongside Marlene! but what a life, eh? she makes me sad with all of the fur she wears, but other than that this book is the height of glamorous entertainment! it's very obvious that her daughter has some deep issues with her, but it isn't overbearing in a trashy "Mommie Dearest" kind of way....even though i love that stuff i know it's not for everybody.
What a powerful, and I hope cathartic, portrait of Marlene Dietrich written by her daughter. She had much reason to despise her mother for her careless, if not bizarre parenting. But her admiration and love for her mother comes through even in the midst of her shocking revelations of just how twisted life was growing up with this woman and dealing with her til her death.
Muffy Kroha
Nov 14, 2007 Muffy Kroha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Worshippers at the altar of Ego
This is the BEST scintillating celebrity Bio EVER!!!
Joan Crawford is a freaking sissy pants school girl by comparison - It is like 800 pages long and it tells EVERYTHING- It is a pretty amazing look into the M.O. of a genuine diva- not a pretender to the throne...The detail about her meticulous attention to wardrobe is only outshone by her love life- Shahowah!!!!!!
Jim Berkin
Very entertaining & brutally honest portrayal of Dietrich from her daughter. The endless stories of Dietrich's sexual escapades and the way she kept score along with her estranged husband back in Europe are, well, just a riot to read about. You'll read this and think that the only man in Hollywood she didn't sleep with back in the day was Rondo Hatton.
Fascinating doesn't even begin to describe this book. This book had 2 things going for it even before I started the book. It was about old Hollywood and it was a fat book. Once I started the book, I couldn't put it down and I think my muscles have gotten even more muscular as a result of that. Well worth my time spent lugging this book around!
An interesting picture of Hollywood's "Golden Era", with the addition of a descent into mental illness.

3 inches thick, this is still an enjoyable book, although the ending is depressing, and the coyness of the names that were not allowed to be mentioned as lovers is a little confusing.
She was all Dietrich all the time. Because she played her myth so well, she couldn't afford to be aware of the havoc she wreaked all around her. When her life caught up with her in old age, she didn't even know what she had done to herself and others. Her daughter was there to clean up the mess.
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