|¿Quién es esa niña?|
During Christmas of 1963, a children's book writer barged in on Massy and the Rivas' festivities to carnally console Dietrich, still in mourning after the recent assassination of John F. Kennedy. By 1964, Marlene was lamenting the plane crash death of this "lady author," who was none other than Nancy Spain. Despite Riva's characterization, Spain wrote much more than juvenile literature, including perhaps this account.
Finding reference to Spain in other Dietrich bios has been quite a chore. In fact, I had to dust off Leslie Frewin's reworked 1967 book, Dietrich: The Story of a Star, to find mention of Spain. According to Frewin, Spain hurled threats at him to keep him from writing his Dietrich bio. Frewin incorrectly locates Dietrich's first meeting with Spain at the Theatre de l'Etoile in 1959, where they realized they shared fashion tastes. Frewin also describes an extensive interview that Spain conducted with Dietrich the following day. In addition to Marlene's revelation that she medicated roses with aspirin, the two "talked of clothes and beauty and men." Obviously, the most unfathomable part of that sentence is that men were a topic of their conversation. Please share this interview if you have it because David Bret wrote that it was "thought to have been [Dietrich's] most explicit ever." Bret may be the only other Anglophone Dietrich biographer to recognize Spain, quoting Marlene as saying that Nancy introduced her to Gilbert Becaud, the composer of "Marie, Marie." Those of you more knowledgeable of Nancy Spain will certainly flesh out the details of this blind item, as I have only just ordered Nancy's cookbook and memoir.