Olga Konstantinovna Knipper
14 April 1897
|Died||9 March 1980 (aged 82)|
(m. 1914; div. 1917)
(m. 1920; div. 1921)
(m. 1936; div. 1938)
Olga Konstantinovna Chekhova (née Knipper, Russian: Ольга Константиновна Чехова; 14 April 1897 – 9 March 1980), known in Germany as Olga Tschechowa, was a Russian-German actress. Her film roles include the female lead in Alfred Hitchcock's Mary (1931).
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Olga Konstantinovna Knipper was born on 14 April 1897 (although some sources give 26 April or 13 April), the daughter of Konstantin Knipper (1868–1929), a railway engineer, and Luise Knipper (née Rid, 1874–1940). Olga was the niece and namesake of Olga Knipper (Anton Chekhov's wife), both Lutherans of ethnic German ancestry. She went to school in Tsarskoye Selo but, after watching Eleonora Duse, joined the Moscow Art Theatre's studio. There she met the Russian-Jewish actor Mikhail Chekhov (Anton's nephew) in 1914 and married him the same year, taking his surname as her own. Their daughter, also named Olga, was born in 1916. She became an actress under the name of Ada Tschechowa.
During the year of the 1917 October Revolution, Chekhova divorced her husband but kept his name. In the first year of the revolution, she joined a cabaret-theatre group called Sorokonozhka (The Little Centipede), as the troupe consisted of twenty members and only forty feet. Chekhova also was given a part in a silent movie, Anya Kraeva. The following year, in 1918, she was given roles in Cagliostro and in The Last Adventure of Arsène Lupin. Although she was a part of the social circle around the Moscow Art Theatre, she never played a role there, despite her later claims to having her first theatre role in The Cherry Orchard.
She managed to get a travel passport from the Soviet government, possibly in exchange for her cooperation, which led to permission to leave Russia. She was accompanied by a Soviet agent on a train to Vienna, then she moved to Berlin in 1920. That same year, she married Frederick Yaroshi, though they divorced in 1921. Her first cinema role in Germany was in F. W. Murnau silent movie Schloß Vogelöd (1921). She played in Max Reinhardt's productions at UFA. She made the successful transition from silent film to talkies. In the 1930s, she rose to become one of the brightest stars of the Third Reich and was admired by Adolf Hitler. She appeared in such films as The Hymn of Leuthen although she preferred comedies. In 1936 she married for the third time, to Marcel Robbins, which ended in divorce in 1938.
A published photograph of her sitting beside Hitler at a reception gave the leaders of the Soviet intelligence service the impression that she had close contacts with Hitler. She had more contact with the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who referred to her in his diaries as "eine charmante Frau" ("a charming lady").
She is also rumored to have been a communist spy in a Soviet conspiracy. According to the book Killing Hitler (2006) by the British author Roger Moorhouse, she was pressured by Stalin and Beria to flirt with Adolf Hitler in order to gain and transfer information so that Hitler could be killed by secret Soviet agents.
Olga achieved great success in the motion picture industry. Her filmography includes 138 credits as an actor, director, and producer between 1917 and 1974. After the war she lived in the Soviet sector of Berlin, but eventually she managed to escape from her Soviet contacts. In 1949, she moved to Munich, Bavaria, and launched a cosmetics company, Olga Tschechowa Kosmetik. At the same time she continued acting, and played supporting roles and cameos in more than 20 films. She largely retired from acting in the 70s, after publishing a book of memoirs. Her correspondence with Russian actresses Olga Knipper and Alla Tarasova was published posthumously.
- Anya Kraeva (1917)
- Poslednie priklucheniya Arsena Lupena (1918)
- Kaliostro (1918)
- Schloß Vogelöd (1921) - Baronin Safferstätt
- Impostor (1921)
- Violet (1921) - Violet
- The Circle of Death (1922) - Olga Petrowna
- Der Kampf ums Ich (1922)
- Nora (1923) - Nora
- The Pagoda (1923)
- Certificates of Death (1923)
- Tatjana (1923) - Tatjana
- The Lost Shoe (1923) - Estella
- Debit and Credit (1924) - Sabine
- The Enchantress (1924)
- The Venus of Montmartre (1925) - Gräfin Sullivan
- The City of Temptation (1925)
- The Old Ballroom (1925, part 1, 2)
- Should We Get Married? (1925)
- Love Story (1925)
- The Company Worth Millions (1925)
- The Fallen (1926) - Malwa, Freundin von Hammer
- The Mill at Sanssouci (1926) - Tänzerin Barberina
- Der Mann aus dem Jenseits (1926) - Seine Frau
- The Schimeck Family (1926) - Olga, seine Frau
- Trude (1926)
- The Man in the Fire (1926) - Diva Romola
- His Toughest Case (1926) - Mary Melton
- Grandstand for General Staff (1926) - Gräfin Landieren
- Aftermath (1926)
- The Italian Straw Hat (1927)
- The Sea (1927) - Rosseherre
- His Late Excellency (1927) - Baronin von Windegg
- The Italian Straw Hat (1928) - Anaïs de Beauperthuis
- Moulin Rouge (1928) - Parysia
- Pawns of Passion (1928) - Ala Suminska
- Woman in Flames (1928) - Gräfin Clarissa Thalberg
- After the Verdict (1929) - Vivian Denys
- Diane (1929) - Diane Mervil
- The Love of the Brothers Rott (1929) - Theresa Donath
- Der Narr seiner Liebe (1929)
- Incest (1929) - Lisbeth Kröger - deren Tochter aus erster Ehe
- Stud. chem. Helene Willfüer (1930) - Helene Willfüer
- Love in the Ring (1930) - Lilian
- Troika (1930) - Vera Walowa
- Der Detektiv des Kaisers (1930) - Olga
- The Three from the Filling Station (1930) - Edith von Turoff
- Darling of the Gods (1930) - Olga von Dagomirska
- Zwei Krawatten (1930) - Mabel
- The Road to Paradise (1930) - Edith de Tourkoff
- A Girl from the Reeperbahn (1930) - Hanne Bullová
- The Great Longing (1930) - Herself
- Liebe auf Befehl (1931) - Manuela
- Mary (1931) - Mary Baring
- Panic in Chicago (1931) - Florence Dingley
- The Night of Decision (1931) - Maria Iwanowa (Marya Sablin)
- The Concert (1931) - Maria Heink, Gattin
- Night Convoy (1932) - Inka Maria, seine Frau
- Trenck (1932) - Elisabeth, Zarin von Rußland
- The Gala Performance (1932) - Miß Harris
- The Hymn of Leuthen (1933) - Gräfin Mariann
- Liebelei (1933) - Baronin v. Eggersdorff
- A Love Story (1933) - Baronin von Eggersdorf
- Wege zur guten Ehe (1933) - Claire Veiler, die unbefriedigte Frau
- Ein gewisser Herr Gran (1933) - Frau Mervin
- Un certain monsieur Grant (1933) - Mme Merwin - une espionne
- The Country Schoolmaster (1933) - Teresa van der Straaten
- Um ein bisschen Glück (1933) - Helene, seine Frau
- Der Polizeibericht meldet (1934) - Gisela Ostercamp
- Zwischen zwei Herzen (1934) - Inge Leuthoff
- L'amour qu'il faut aux femmes (1934) - Le troisième couple
- The World Without a Mask (1934) - Betty Bandelow
- Maskerade (1934) - Anita Keller - seine Braut
- What Am I Without You (1934) - Lilly Petrowa, Schauspielerin
- Abenteuer eines jungen Herrn in Polen (1934) - Gräfin Lubenska
- Peer Gynt (1934) - Baronin
- Regine (1935) - Floris Bell, Schauspielerin
- Asew (1935) - Tanja Asew, seine Frau
- The Eternal Mask (1935) - Madame Negar
- Rêve d'Amour (1935) - Gräfin Madeleine Duday
- Artist Love (1935) - Olivia Vanderhagen
- Ein Walzer um den Stephansturm (1935) - Sylvia von Polonska
- The Empress's Favourite (1936) - Elisabeth Kaiserin von Russland
- L'argent (1936) - Baronne Sandorff
- Manja Valewska (1936) - Gräfin Pola Valewska
- His Daughter is Called Peter (1936) - Nora Noir
- Hannerl and Her Lovers (1936) - Frau von Stahl
- Court Theatre (1936) - Baroness Seebach
- Petersburger Romanze (1936)
- Die weissen Teufel (1936)
- Liebe geht seltsame Wege (1937) - Antonia Delvarez
- Unter Ausschluß der Öffentlichkeit (1937) - Brigitte Sparrenberg
- Die gelbe Flagge (1937) - Helen Roeder - amerikanische Journalistin
- Gewitterflug zu Claudia (1937) - Frau Mainburg
- Das Mädchen mit dem guten Ruf (1938) - Mirandolina
- Red Orchids (1938) - Maria Dorando
- Zwei Frauen (1938) - Paula Corvey
- Verliebtes Abenteuer (1938) - Olivia
- The Stars Shine (1938) - Herself
- Bel Ami (1939) - Madeleine Forestier
- Ich verweigere die Aussage (1939) - Nora Ottendorf
- Parkstraße 13 (1939) - Evelyne Schratt
- Die unheimlichen Wünsche (1939) - Feodora, Schauspielerin
- Liberated Hands (1939) - Kerstin Thomas
- Passion (1940) - Gerda
- Angelika (1940) - Angelika
- The Fox of Glenarvon (1940) - Gloria Grandison
- Menschen im Sturm (1941) - Vera seine Frau
- Andreas Schlüter (1942) - Gräfin Vera Orlewska
- With the Eyes of a Woman (1942) - Marie-Louise v. Ditmar, Baronin von Stein
- The Eternal Tone (1943) - Josephine Malti, Singer
- Reise in die Vergangenheit (1943) - Marianne von der Halden
- Gefährlicher Frühling (1943) - Juliane von Buckwitz
- Melusine (1944) - Nora
- In the Temple of Venus (1948) - Carola Weber
- One Night Apart (1950) - Vera, seine Frau
- Kein Engel ist so rein (1950) - Margot
- Two in One Suit (1950) - Catherine Turner
- Maharadscha wider Willen (1950) - Susanne de Bogne - Journalistin
- Trouble in Paradise (1950) - Myriam Esneh
- The Man Who Wanted to Live Twice (1950) - Irene Hesse
- Begierde (1951) - Frau des Bankpräsidenten
- Eine Frau mit Herz (1951) - Vera von Wesener
- Das Geheimnis einer Ehe (1951) - Tina Camphausen
- My Friend the Thief (1951) - Percys Schwester
- Behind Monastery Walls (1952) - Priorin
- Everything for Father (1953) - Frau von Pleskow
- Rose-Girl Resli (1953) - Mrs. von Weidersheim
- Heute nacht passiert's (1953) - HImself - Gast im Modesalon
- Captain Wronski (1954) - Frau von Eichhoff
- I Was an Ugly Girl (1955) - Luise Raymond
- The Barrings (1955) - Amelie von Eyff
- U 47 – Kapitänleutnant Prien (1958) - Die Fürstin
- Jack and Jenny (1963) - Mutter Johannsen
- The Twins from Immenhof (1973) - Großmutter Arkens
- Spring in Immenhof (1974) - Großmutter (final film role)
- "Olga Tschechowa".
- "Olga Chekhova".
- "Luise Jul. Knipper".
- Beevor, p. 38.
- Beevor, p. 52.
- "Russian prima Nazi cinema — Encyclopedia of safety".
- Romani, p. 41.
- Romani, p. 43.
- Beevor, p. 149.
- Moorhouse, Roger (2006). Killing Hitler: The Plots, The Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death. New York: Bantam. ISBN 978-0-553-38255-6.
- "Olga Tschechowa".
- Beevor, p. 231.
- Filmed in German by a Swiss production firm, (The Eternal Mask) adapted by Leo Lapaire from his own novel. Mathias Weimann plays an idealistic doctor who believes he has discovered a cure for meningitis. Ordered not to experiment with this serum, Weimann does so anyway, utilizing the supposed wonder drug on a terminal patient. When the man dies, Weimann is reprimanded by his superiors, and wanders out of the hospital, believing himself a failure. His depression deepens into delirium, and soon the doctor is wandering through a Caligariesque world of distorted shapes and distended shadows, where he finds it impossible to separate illusion from reality. Meanwhile, Weimann's superiors determine that the meningitis serum is indeed effective; now they must snap the doctor out of his nightmare in order for him to reveal the formula. One of the very few successful attempts to convey madness on screen.
- Beevor, Antony (2004). The Mystery of Olga Chekhova. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-03340-9.
- Romani, Cinzia (1992). Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich. Translated by Connolly, Robert. New York: Sarpedon. ISBN 978-0-9627613-1-7.
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