Vintage Photos of Berlin Cabaret Artists (1920s-1930s)

marlene dietrich 1931 - by eugene robert richee

Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992). Her earliest professional stage appearances were as a chorus girl on tour with Guido Thielscher’s Girl-Kabarett vaudeville-style entertainments, and in Rudolf Nelson revues in Berlin. Her performance as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel (1930) brought her international fame and resulted in a contract with Paramount Pictures. Photo of Dietrich by Ruth Harriet Louise, c 1930 via

Trude-Hesterberg

Trude Hesterberg (1892 – 1967) was a German stage and film actress, cabaret artist, chanson singer, soubrette and operetta singer, as well as founder and director of a cabaret stage. It is thought that she was an early consideration for the lead role in The Blue Angel, before it was given to Marlene Dietrich via

Archiv-der-Akademie-Der-Künst-Berlin

Margo lion (1899 – 1989) first came to Berlin in 1921 and made her debut at Trude Hesterbergs cabaret ‘Wild Bühne’ (The Wild Stage) in 1923 . She is best known for her role as Pirate Jenny in director G.W. Pabst’s 1931 French language adaptation of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) via

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Anita Berber (1899 – 1928) was a German dancer, actress, and writer. Her hair was cut fashionably into a short bob and was frequently bright red, as in 1925 when the German painter Otto Dix painted a portrait of her, titled “The Dancer Anita Berber” via

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Valeska Gert (1892 – 1978) could be considered one of Germany’s most ambiguous and overlooked artists. She was a dancer, actress, film and cabaret star. She was a pioneering performance artist who is said to have laid the foundations and paved the way for the punk movement via

Kate-Kühl

Kate Kühl (1899-1970) nicknamed ‘The Red Nightingale’ went on to perform in all the major cabaret venues of the time including the Wilde Bühne, Kadeko and the Katacombe via

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Blandine Ebinger (1899 – 1993) was a German actress and chansonniere. Ebinger became acquainted with Friedrich Hollaender in 1919, and with him she became heavily invested as a performer, writer, and composer in the Berlin cabaret scene in the 1920s, beginning in the cabaret Schall und Rauch and the Café Größenwahn. Photo of Blandine Ebinger performing Lieder eines armen Mädchens, 1925 via

Arletty by Madame d’Ora

Arletty (1898 – 1992) was a French actress, singer, and fashion model.

Born to a working-class family, she left home and pursued a modeling career, after her father’s death. She took the stage name “Arlette” based on the heroine of a story by Maupassant.

Her early career was dominated by the music hall, and she later appeared in plays and cabaret. Arletty was a stage performer for ten years before her film debut in 1930. Her career took off around 1936, when she appeared as the leading lady in the stage plays Les Joies du Capitole and Fric-Frac, in which she starred opposite Michel Simon. She later starred as Blanche in the French version of A Streetcar Named Desire.

She was imprisoned in 1945 for her wartime liaison with a German Luftwaffe officer, Hans-Jürgen Soehring, during the occupation of France. For her crimes she received a sentence of eighteen months imprisonment, most of which was served in a private chateau.

In 1995, the government of France issued a series of limited edition coins to commemorate the centenary of film that included a 100 Franc coin bearing her image.

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, 1929

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920

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Arletty by Madame d’Ora, Paris, 1920

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