Dietrich photographed in her living room for Life Magazine (1952).
Marlene Dietrich settled in Manhattan's swanky Upper East Side after the end of World War II, when the world's most glamorous grandmother relocated to New York to be close to her daughter Maria Riva and her grandchildren.
993 Park Avenue went co-op in the late fifties and Dietrich bought an apartment in the building. The full service, thirteen storey Italianite block had been built in the teens by Bing & Bing. Dietrich decorated her modest apartment, number 12E (a two bed / two bath unit of 1600 square feet), in a mixture of styles: Louis XIV furniture was offset against glizy mirrored walls befitting a movie star.
When she wasn't travelling the world with her spectacular one-woman show, Dietrich divided her time between her New York home and a Paris rental on the Avenue Montaigne. Visting Dietrich in Paris in the late 70s, her friend Leo Lerman noted "[t]he podge of the [Parisian] flat, which I find touching and that Gray [Foy] says is so unlike her New York controlled elegance. I like both and find both very much the way she is."
After a stage fall in Australia in 1975 Dietrich went into semi-retirement in Paris, becoming increasingly reclusive. Her grandson, J. Michael Riva lived at the Park Avenue apartment during the early 80s with his then-fiance, Jamie Lee Curtis, when the latter was filming "Trading Places" (1983).
Dietrich died in 1992.
Her heirs sold the apartment in 1998 for $615 000. "I walked in and the place was empty and disgusting and old," commented the buyer, who intended to redecorate. ""I have these dumb mirrors, too ... Because she had smoked-glass mirrors all over the place, including in the bedroom, which I am taking off."
993 Park Ave #12E reappeared on the market in 2010. Without its famous previous owner's "dumb mirrors" and shag carpeting, the genteel refurbished unit was listed by Sotheby's Real Estate for $ 2 250 000. It has now been sold.