10 July 2012

Marlene Dietrich's Photographers: The Concert Years

Marlene Dietrich photographed by William Claxton (Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, 1959)
Dietrich photographed by Claxton
(Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, 1959)
[UPDATE: Thanks for your responses, all! I've added more entries on February 16, 2013 and will continue doing so!]

Help! I'm beginning to wrangle disparate online Marlene Dietrich resources into quasi-bibliographies. This is a long-term project, and you can contribute by adding links to content in the comments section.

Because many of you are particularly fond of Dietrich's concert career, I've decided to start with this period. I've also chosen to focus first on the photographers who had the honor of gazing at Marlene through their lenses.

After you share links with me, I'll edit this fledgling bibliography to reflect our collective information, which will hopefully become comprehensive and organized. Specifically, you can direct me to photographers I've failed to mention, links to photos or sites with photos, specific dates, places, events, etc. Also, if any prints are available for purchase, let me know where and for what price.

To show you how much I need your participation, I'll begin this bibliography with an sparse list of Marlene Dietrich photographers. Remember, you need to aid me in making this decent because apathetic consumption makes me weary.

Aarons, Slim

New York City (1959)

April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel


Arnold, Eve

Paris (May 1962) 

The Olympia


Basch, Peter

Edinburgh (August 23-28?, 1965)

Royal Lyceum Theater?


Claxton, William

Las Vegas (Spring 1959)

Sands Hotel


  • one (Digital Journalist) *Claxton recalls his meeting with Dietrich in a video interview; includes transcript

Dauman, Henri

New York City (1959)

[April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel?]


Dean, Loomis 

Las Vegas (December? 1953)

The Sahara Hotel and Casino


Eijsten, Lili

Netherlands (1963)


Erwitt, Elliott

New York City (1959)

April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel


Fischer, Walter

Las Vegas (February 19-March 21?, 1962)

Riviera Club


Fournier, Pierre

Paris (May 1962) 

The Olympia


Freston, George 

London (November 4, 1963)

Prince of Wales Theatre


Gragnon, François 

Paris (November 27, 1959)

Theatre de l'Etoile 


Hanekroot, Gijsbert

Amsterdam (January 27, 1975)

Theatre Carre


List, Herbert

Munich (May 27, 1960)

Deutsches Theater


McDowall, Roddy

New York City (October 1967)

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre


Meisert, Harald

Bad Kissingen (May 20, 1960)



Morphet, Chris

London (November 1962)

Golders Green Hippodrome


Nisberg, Jack

Paris? (1959?)


O'Neill, Terry

London (February? 1975)

New Wimbledon Theatre?


Parkinson, Norman

London (1955)

Cafe de Paris


Redfern, David

London (February 1975)

New Wimbledon Theatre


Riva, Peter

London (1972)

Queen's Theatre


Whitmore, James

Berlin (May 1960)



  1. Joseph,

    A worthwhile, but mammoth project! :)

    A few off the top of my head:

    Roddy MacDowall (Lunt Fontanne Theatre, 1967) -- 4 have appeared on auction or ebay

    Peter Riva (Queens Theatre, 1972) -- Marlene's entrance bow

    Terry O'Neill (London, 1975) --

    David Redfern (New Wimbledon Theatre, London, 1975) For sale at his website
    (but six images listed at Getty)

    Also at Getty:
    James Whitmore (Berlin, 1960)
    George Freston (Royal Variety Show w/ Beatles, 1963)
    McCabe (El Alamein Reunion at Victoria & Albert Hall, London, 1963)
    Lili Eijsten (Edison Awards, Netherlands 1963)
    Gijsbert Hanekroot (Theatre Carre, Amsterdam 1975)
    Chris Morphet (Golders Green, London, 1966) (six images)
    Loomis Dean (for Life) (Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas 1953)
    Maurice Zalewski (Paris, 1959)
    Ray Fisher (Las Vegas, 1958)
    Snowdon (Cafe de Paris, 1955)

    Pierre Fournier (Olympia, Paris, 1962)
    Pierre Vauthey (Olympia, Paris, 1962)
    Ted Streshinsky (Freemont Hotel, San Francisco, 1975)

    ... and all those promo shots by Engstead and Greene (not sure if this is what you're looking for though). Greene also shot may of the location photos for Marlene's TV special.

    1. Thanks! You've given me an excellent start! I'll take a while adding these names (and also Terry O'Neill's, which Paul kindly emailed) but will certainly get it done. It's indeed mammoth, but it's something that we can do gradually. I've also decided to go back to the Mapping Marlene Dietrich project because I stupidly never considered adding all the concert locations that Uli lists on his site.

      Where I draw boundaries for this bibliography--I'm not sure. Some Engstead & Greene will be included but not all. On the topic of those two, I saw this photo on IMDB attributed to Engstead and dated c. 1955 (their source, oddly says c. 1960s), which inspired me to do this. That photo's always been a source of confusion for me for many reasons. Was it you who pointed out that in Maria's book, Dietrich's age is listed as 72 in the caption yet 71 in the text?

    2. Oops! You mentioned Terry O'Neill, too. Well, now I've got 2 sources for the photo.

    3. Hi Joseph, see you already listed Fournier! Wasn't me who pointed out between the text / caption. From memory, that Greene shot was done in early Dec '72, so Marlene would have been a few weeks shy of 71? I think! The problem is that the photos are so often misattributed or misdated. And with concerts, if there were several -- who took what?! The one shoot that always gets me confused is the William Walling one (Paramount, with the feathers). It's always 1934 or 1937. What do you think? I lean toward '34.

    4. Oops "... with concerts, if there were several PHOTOGRAPHERS ...."

    5. In that case, I'll take credit for pointing out the discrepancy.;) Yeah, the Greene photo was for that Cohen T.V. special, but I don't know exactly when it was taken. It doesn't help that Dietrich's birthday falls at the end of the year and that her concert was also recorded late in the year yet was broadcast in early '73. Thank goodness for the word "circa."

      Those feathered Walling photos of Marlene looking like Dracula's (not that one!) mistress and then a little less vamp with the collar all look more '34. By the way, the first photo that appears in a Google Images search of "marlene dietrich william walling" is a Hurrell! Eek!

    6. Ha! And the others are Don English! What is the world coming to!

    7. ... or at least I always thought so! This is getting too confusing.

    8. Well, it's hard to identify the photographers of a subject who co-directed her shoots. I recall Dietrich being quoted as saying, "Okay, George, shoot!" in that Hurrell Hollywood coffee table book.

      Going on a tangent about Paramount's photographers, I suppose that they frequently weren't credited or saw their work credited to others. Otto Dyar photographed several Paramount stars, but I can't recall seeing his name attached to any Marlene photos. On second thought, his work looked more like candids than glamor shots--not very '30s Dietrich.

  2. In the Library of Congress "Look" magazine photo collection:

    Kirkland, Douglas, 1934- , photographer
    Fusco, Paul , photographer
    Date Created/Published: 1961 Aug. 7.
    Medium: 6 photographic prints (contact sheets).
    published 5 transparencies : color.
    unpublished 21 slides : color.
    unpublished 180 transparencies : color.
    2 negatives : b&w film copy negs.
    Summary: Photographs show entertainer Marlene Dietrich rehearsing for her one-woman show. Unpublished photo


    Creator(s): Terrell, Maurice, photographer
    Date Created/Published: 1954 Jan. 19 (date added to Look's library)
    Medium: 6 photographic prints (contact sheets).
    Summary: Photographs show actress Marlene Dietrich performing on stage at a nightclub.

  3. The Neal Barr site credits the Marlene picture as "Palace Theater NYC 1967" which is clearly wrong,so it is difficult to keep track.Paul

  4. While I'm adding these photos, I'm remembering some details of a few events at which Dietrich was photographed. Do you think Lili Eijsten went home after she took her photos at the Edison Awards?;)

  5. Haha! Perhaps, if she "only" understood English, French and German!

  6. A few others:

    Peter Basch (Edinburgh, 1965) -- concert photo in one of the MDCB newsletters; also the backstage photos being sold on ebay.

    Walter Fischer (Las Vegas 1962) -- Dietrich solo and with Louis Armstrong were sold on ebay, including:

    1. Thanks, Missladiva! Speaking of MDCB newsletters, has anyone received one lately? I searched my email and the last issue I received was 99, back in December 2011!

  7. No it seems they've stopped the whole thing, which is a pity-they have so much stuff to share!

    1. Lionel, Joseph: its been such a long time since MDCB have done a newsletter; a real loss, since they were fascinating. I understand that it takes a lot of effort compiling them, perhaps they can consider a blog or facebook page for the collection.

    2. I hope you both got the latest newsletter issue! It is a bit of a swan song. I hope they do consider transitioning to a blog or Facebook page. It would be much easier to manage and would reach many more people.