Terrible news from the world of entertainment.
Luise Rainer, the great German-born actress who became the first actor or actress to win more than one Oscar – and did it in consecutive years, for The Great Ziegfeld in 1936 and The Good Earth in 1937 – died in London on Tuesday, of pneumonia. Ms. Rainer was just two weeks shy of her 105th birthday.
Great talent though she was, Ms. Rainer gave up acting in 1944 (with the exception of a few sporadic TV roles and a small part in a 1997 movie, “The Gambler). She devoted herself to learning and to human rights – including untiring support of various Jewish causes (hardly a surprise since she was a German Jew who was fortunate enough to have left Germany prior to the nazi takeover).
Ms. Rainer\’s loss is compounded by the fact that , earlier this year (June 12th), we lost another 104 year old actress: Carla Laemmle. Ms. Laemmle, also of German Jewish descent, started in silent films and then, ironically, spoke the first line in 1931\’s classic “Dracula”.
It is no surprise that these great movie pioneers died. Not at their age. But it is very, very sad that both are now gone nonetheless.
May the beautiful, talented Luise Rainer, and Carla Laemmle, rest in peace.