Romy Schneider: Her films and her life

Tip: From 5 December 2009, the Museum of Film and Television in Berlin will be showing the exhibition "Romy Schneider, Vienna - Berlin - Paris".

First stepsEarly on, the daughter of actress Magda Schneider, born in Vienna, is in front of the camera. At the age of 14, she gives her screen debut in "When the white lilac blossoms again", her mother plays the main role in it. This is followed by other films in which she appears as a naive daughter and young lover - again at the side of her mother, who cleverly steers the career of the gifted daughter.

Sweet as semolina puddingIn 1955, Ernst Marischka and 16-year-old Romy Schneider and ten-year-older Karlheinz Böhm make the entertainment film "Sissi: Girlhood of an Empress" about Elisabeth of Austria. "Sissi, the Young Empress" and "Sissi: Fateful Years of an Empress" follow in 1956 and 1957. The successful trilogy not only gives Romy Schneider great popularity, but also the image of a "sweet girl" who, in her own words, "like semolina pudding" sticking to it.

Image changeFor the sake of her partner Alain Delon, Romy Schneider breaks away from the family bondage and goes to Paris in 1958. Here, too, Romy is mainly offered roles as a young nobleman (for example, in films such as "The beautiful liar" or "Katia"). But she defends herself against her image, to the annoyance of producers. The German public also does not want to accept the change of his idol to an adult, modern woman.

Roger Fritz, Romy Schneider in "Boccaccio 70", 1961

© Roger Fritz

The emancipation of the "Sissi"In France, Romy Schneider turns to more demanding roles and becomes the "femme fatale" of French cinema. There was much praise from critics and audiences especially for the film "Boccaccio '70" by Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti. In it, Romy Schneider plays a young countess on the side of Sophia Loren, who works for her husband as a call girl.

F. C. Gundlach, Romy Schneider, Hamburg 1961

© Courtesy Foundation F. C. Gundlach

The new RomyIn the 1960s, Romy Schneider finally became a serious actress: with the political film "Le combat dans l'île", on a theatrical tour as Nina in Chekhov's "The Seagull" and in Orson Welles' Kafka film adaptation "Le proces ".

Separation from Alain Delon In 1963 Romy Schneider made the leap to Hollywood. In "The Cardinal" she seduces a Catholic priest and in "Good Neighbor Sam" she shows her comedic talent alongside Jack Lemmon for the first time. But the films are not as well as expected, new projects with Luchino Visconti smashed. And: The separation of Alain Delon in 1964 plunges them into a crisis. Shortly thereafter, she tries to kill herself.

Wedding with Harry MeyenIn 1965 she met in Berlin, the Boulevard director Harry Meyen, whom she married in 1966. In December 1966 her son David Christopher is born. The announcement to abandon the film business in favor of a life as a wife and mother, revokes her soon. Her first great success after a short break in 1968 is "The Swimming Pool", in which she shows a lot of sexiness on the side of Delons.

Helga Kneidl, Romy Schneider, Paris 1973

© Helga Kneidl

Courageous confessionIn 1971, Romy Schneider is among the 371 women who admit in the magazine "Stern" to have aborted before.

Helga Kneidl, Romy Schneider, Paris 1973

© Helga Kneidl

The search for happinessDespite her film success, Romy Schneider remains restless. The actress lives in constant fear of not being loved enough. She once said that in real life she is incapable of being able to do everything in front of the camera.

Robert Lebeck, Romy Schneider with Robert Lebeck's cap, Berlin 1976, during the filming of "Group portrait with lady"

© Robert Lebeck

Filmband in goldIn 1976 Romy Schneider plays the role of Leni in the film version of Heinrich Böll's "Gruppenbild mit Dame". While the film is being panned by the critics, she receives the film band in gold for her acting performance.

Marriage with Daniel BiasiniIn 1973, Romy Schneider separates from Harry Meyen, 1975 follows the divorce. In December 1975, she marries her eleven years younger secretary Daniel Biasini. In July 1977, their daughter Sarah Magdalena is born.

Robert Lebeck, Romy Schneider with daughter Sarah Biasini, Paris 1981

© Robert Lebeck

family ties Her children love Romy Schneider about everything. Her daughter Sarah grows up after her death with her father. She first studies art history but finally decides to become an actress - as well as her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

SchicksalsjahreAt the end of the seventies, a difficult time for Romy Schneider begins: Her first husband, Harry Meyen, kills in 1979. In 1981, her marriage with Biasini divorced. Also in 1981, her 14-year-old son died in an accident. Romy Schneider herself dies a year later, she was only 43 years old. In the death certificate heart failure is the cause, for the press she died of a "broken heart".

Recommended reading

"The memory is often the most beautiful", Ed. Beate Kemfert, 176 pages, Hatje Cantz Verlag

More portraits of Romy Schneider can be found in the illustrated book "The memory is often the most beautiful", which was released in 2008 for the 70th birthday of Romy Schneider. With many hitherto unpublished photos by internationally renowned photographers such as Werner Bokelberg, Peter Brüchmann, F. C. Gundlach, Helga Kneidl or Robert Lebeck.

An exhibition with the photographs from the illustrated book shows the Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus from 18.10.2009 to 17.1.2010 All topics at a glance

Romy Schneider Tribute (March 2023).

Romy Schneider, Jessica Schwarz, Berlin, Alain Delon, Vienna, Paris, Camera, Karlheinz Böhm, France, Federico Fellini, Romy Schneider, Birthday, 70, Exhibition, Photos, Movie Star, Actress