27 December 2014

Happy Birthday: Stars and Cake!

Dietrich was born 113 years ago, on this day in 1901.  

A Capricorn, she was one of the first stars to use the services of astrologer Carroll Righter, who had come to Hollywood in 1938. ("The stars impel, they don't compel. What you make of your life depends on you," he said).

"Anyone with troubles can unload them safely onto Capricorn's shoulders," Marlene said of her own zodiac sign, ruled by Saturn  "the celestial taskmaster. He won't let you get away with anything."

Righter either looked at his charts of the screenplay of The Lady Is Willing in 1941 and advised Marlene not to go to the studio one day. She disregarded his advice: while filming a scene with 'Baby X' in her arms, she tripped over a toy on the set and broke her ankle as she shielded the baby. Columbia's publicity men had a field day supplying photos of Marlene recuperating to the press. (She completed filming of the movie with her ankle in a cast, deftly hid out of view).

"Don't mess around with old Carroll — 'cause he must know something." Marlene concluded.

As late as 1978, according the New York Daily News, Marlene still rarely made "a move without consulting the zodiac ... with Righter". (The paper was reporting about a lunch date between Maria Riva and the astrologer. Riva had just become a "very happy" grandmother; great-grandmother was in Paris working on her autobiography).


Today being Marlene's birthday, here's a "birthday" cake: her recipe for Dutch Apple Cake, shared with readers of New Movie magazine in 1932. 

1 cake yeast
¼ cup lukewarm milk
¾ cup scalding hot milk
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk, beaten

Soak the yeast in lukewarm milk. Add to scalded milk. Add half the sugar and flour. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Then eat in the rest of the sugar, flour and other ingredients. Spread thinly in greased baking pan. Let rise in warm place until doubled again. Press thinly sliced apples into dough in even rows. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon cinnamon mixed with a half cup brown sugar and dot with currants. Bake in hot oven.

(Let us know what it tastes like!)

Happy Birthday Marlene!


  1. Happy birthday, Marlene! A cake recipe comes just in time before we make our New Year's resolutions. We ought to keep it in mind after we break our vows a few weeks from now, too.

  2. maybe i'll just buy her a cupcake instead.