77 Marlene Dietrich quotes and quotations to enrich your life experience!
(If you’re in a hurry, skip the Marlene Dietrich biography and scroll down to Marlene Dietrich Quotes.)
Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) star of stage, screen and soldiers’ hearts
You probably think of Marlene Dietrich as a classy blond femme-fatale Hollywood movie star with a distinctive German accent.
But did you know anything about her selfless and untiring contribution to help America defeat the Nazis during the Second World War?
The U.S. government awarded her the Medal of Freedom for her war work.
How big a star was she? In the 1930s, Marlene Dietrich was the third-highest-paid person in the United States! She was also a staunch anti-Nazi who despised anti-Semitism. So when Hitler offered her a fortune to bring her star power back to Germany, she declined.
The woman born in Berlin on December 27, 1901 as Marie Magdalene Dietrich, became an American citizen in 1939. When the U.S. entered the Second World War in 1941, she became the main attraction of war-bond tours, making it very clear where she stood in the war between America and Germany.
Marlene went all out, with tour dates planned day-by-day and hour-by-hour. From early 1942 to the autumn of 1943, she brought in more money for the U.S. war effort than any other star.
She recorded anti-Nazi songs, in German. And she also went overseas to entertain the troops. Her self-assured, playfully seductive style lifted the spirits of the men facing death every day.
Puritanical people in American churches and the United Service Organization criticized her. But Marlene continued to do it her way. That included rewriting the stiff, dry-as-old-toast speeches scripted for her.
Here’s a Marlene Dietrich quote from a performance for the troops like the one in this picture:
"I'm probably the only girl in the world tonight who has a date with 18,000 men. This is the first time in my life I ever stayed awake all night and rode 30 miles just to keep a date. But then it's also the first time I ever had 18,000 men together in one place."
In Africa, she gave 68 performances to 150,000 troops in just nine weeks. Incredible.
She took a huge risk to do all this. Because she was German-born, if the Nazis captured her, they would have treated her mercilessly as a traitor. And she feared for her mother, living behind enemy lines in Germany.
After the war ended in Europe in 1945, Marlene wrote to her mother: "Up to 1939 Hitler sent messages to me that I should come back, and when I refused they said that they had means to make me very unhappy. I knew that they meant you, and I nearly went crazy with fear they would take it out on you.”
Marlene died peacefully in Paris in May 1992, at the age of 90. Three-and-a-half thousand mourners attended her funeral service, with another crowd of well-wishers outside.
Now you know more about her class act, enjoy these Marlene Dietrich quotes!
MARLENE DIETRICH QUOTES
Marlene Dietrich quotes on age
- Careful grooming may take 20 years off a woman's age, but you can't fool a long flight of stairs.
- Art for art’s sake, when one is young, is amusing. But after 40, one can no longer count on art to keep one warm.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on beauty
- Dark nail polish is vulgar.
- When your hair isn't done or when you had no time to wash it—grab that scarf and you'll be pretty and neat.
- If beautiful voices were sold over the counter prettily wrapped, women would buy them. Too bad they aren't.
- Lucky is the ugly duckling. Keep that in mind and don't envy the pretty duckling. The dizzy pursuit of pleasure the pretty duckling succumbs to, does not tempt you constantly. You have time to think, to be alone, to be lonely, to read, to make friends, to help other people. You'll be a happy swan. Just wait and see.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on behaviour
- Grief is a private affair.
- Most rich people are pretty dull.
- To lose your prejudices you must travel.
- Nobody will tell you gossip if you don't listen.
- Good manners: Know your place. Bad manners: Meddle.
- The more plentiful the work, the less time to be neurotic.
- One should think twice before burdening a good friend with a secret.
- In fear of being sentimental people often shun sentiment. A sad confusion.
- I do not think we have a "right" to happiness. If happiness happens, say thanks.
- I am deeply suspicious of one who carries martinis to the lunch and dinner table.
- The power wealth gives is a dangerous power, especially in the hands of the wealthy.
- People who can nap are lucky. Don't disturb their napping just because you can't do the same.
- Contrary to popular belief it is possible to be completely objective about one's own accomplishments and deeds.
- Words can bruise and break hearts, and minds as well. There are no black and blue marks, no broken bones to put in plaster casts, and therefore no prison bars for the offender.
- There are people who have a natural built-in tact of the heart. If you know one, treat him gently; they are hard to come by. But tact can be taught; best when we are young, and not by words but by example.
- We all have quite definite ideas about what is normal. Let's stick to those ideas and let psychiatry keep its definitions of modern man out of our vocabulary. We need some norms to go by in order to communicate without misunderstanding.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on raising children
- Your daughter is your child for life.
- To be just should be taught to children as soon as they understand a language.
- The wishes of a mother for her child are few; they can be held in a baby's hand.
- Teach your teenage daughters not to tease boys into physical desire. You might save their lives.
- I cringe every time I see a child eating a sandwich made out of American white bread. Give them whole wheat or rye if you love them.
- Patience can become second nature, if taught early enough. One of those gifts to your children for which you will be hated first and loved later.
- Any society that allows conditions to exist in which the adolescent begins to connect guilt with physical love raises a generation of defectives.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on fashion
- Expensive things look expensive. There is always a connoisseur in the crowd.
- Sometimes I like entire towns or places just because I don't ever have to get out of my jeans.
- Women have immense faith in the miracles a girdle can produce. I believe they are labouring under a false illusion.
- Only Englishmen can wear brown rough suits and brown heavy-soled shoes and look elegant. Nobody else should try it.
- It is not very wise to buy a red dress. But I can understand the temptation—simply because men will say: "Who is that girl in the red dress?"
- Shoes are more important that suits and dresses. Good shoes give elegance to your entire appearance. Buy one pair of good shoes instead of three pairs of bad quality.
- There is much to be said for the custom of wearing mourning clothes when a tragic loss has left you without strength. The widow's costume, particularly, inspires respect for sorrow, and the veil not only shadows her face but protects her from the glare of gay life around her. A woman in mourning is treated gently at a time when she needs it most.
- Here are some basic rules: Don't ever follow the latest trend, because in a short time you will look ridiculous. Don't buy green, red or any other flamboyant-colour dress. A small wardrobe must consist of outfits that you can wear again and again. Therefore, black, navy-blue and grey are your favorite colours. Don't buy separates. Don't believe the sales talk that you can have five dresses for the price of one. And don't buy cheap materials, no matter how attractive the dress looks to you. Don't say you can't afford a dress made of expensive materials. Save up for it. If you have one good suit, preferably grey (navy gets shiny), two black dresses, a black wool skirt, a couple of black and grey sweaters, you'll be well dressed most of the year until summer, when you'll wear simple cotton dresses. Another suggestion, don't send your clothes to the cleaner's all the time. Spot-clean and press them yourself. It's worth it because they last longer. And while you're saving up for that good black dress, on your next date wear a black sweater and skirt. Nothing wrong with that as long as you don't ruin the elegance of the outfit by overemphasis of the bosom. (Of dressing on a budget)
Marlene Dietrich quotes on food
- Chocolate and brandy. Chocolate and calvados. Chocolate and whiskey. Chocolate and anything resembling alcohol. All make a good soldier's breakfast.
- At certain times soup is the ideal food. Soup not only warms you and is easy to swallow and digest, it also creates the illusion in the back of your mind that Mother is there.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on herself
- I am at heart a gentleman.
- I wasn't erotic at all. I was snotty.
- Super intelligence kindles my love.
- Professional. Disciplined. And good. (Of herself)
- I need harmony around me more than food, drink, and sleep.
- I give the people what I know they like and what they expect.
- Darling, the legs aren't so beautiful. I just know what to do with them.
- I don't like to get up in the morning at 5 o'clock. I was not so lucky to be a silent film star who could sleep till noon.
- Would be thrilled and delighted to accept your invitation, but unless you agree to my fee of $35,000, all further correspondence will be meaningless. (Reply to a 1972 invitation to sing at the winter palace of the Habsburgs)
Check out this video of wonderful Marlene Dietrich photos. You'll see why she used to be known as "Legs Dietrich." Hear her singing, too!
Marlene Dietrich quotes on life
- Youth is optimism and trust.
- For most of us to be alone is misery.
- A dominating woman cannot be happy.
- At the best of times gender is difficult to determine.
- Variety is the spice of life only when it is not for its own sake.
- If fame would be synonymous with fortune, wouldn't that be fine?
- Bachelorhood—a blessed state, unless you are old or middle-aged.
- Life is not a holiday. Should you approach it thus, you will find holidays aplenty.
- Being in the depths of sadness is just as important an experience as being exuberantly happy.
- It is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognizably wiser than yourself.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on love
- Grumbling is the death of love.
- You must listen all the time or you lose contact.
- Anyone who was seduced wanted to be seduced.
- Tenderness is the greater proof of love than the most passionate of vows.
- Love for the joy of loving, and not for the offerings of someone else's heart.
- Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.
- Let him go—if he doesn't love you anymore. Let her go—if she doesn't love you anymore.
- I can't stand ultimatums, particularly not in connection with emotional decisions. The person giving an ultimatum is necessarily the stronger one and is taking advantage of this position.
- There are more imaginary specks of dust casually brushed off gentlemen's shoulders by women wanting to show intimacy in public than there are real specks of dust desirous of settling on a gentleman's shoulders.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on men
- If he is a creative artist, forgive him.
- I hate it, but men fall for it, so go on and pout.
- The men I like to talk to are invariably non-dancers.
- In Texas, when you say that a man is beautiful or handsome, you simply say: "His pants fit him.”
- A man would rather come home to an unmade bed and a happy woman than to a neatly made bed and an angry woman.
- All real men love to eat. Any man who picks at his food, breaking off little pieces with his fork, pushing one aside, picking up another, pushing bits around the plate, etc., usually has something wrong with him. And I don't mean with his stomach.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on music
- A home without a piano is waiting for something.
- How little time we working people have to listen to music, and what a loss this represents to our souls and our nervous systems.
- All the "sound," which in today's popular music and orchestrations is all-important, cannot replace melody. Sounds will come and go. Melodies remain.
Marlene Dietrich quotes on writing
- I've talked to Hemingway and everybody who knows about this problem of getting down to writing. I make the same excuses as everybody else to avoid the issue. My best excuse is defrosting the refrigerator. That's a wonderful way to put off writing.
- There is no excuse for not writing letters. My mother used to say: "Don't tell me you have no time to write to someone who is waiting. There is a quiet place where no one disturbs you. You can visit every day—there you can write. You want to know what the place is? The emperor goes there on foot."