Tags: luise rainer | dies | back-to-back | oscars

Luise Rainer Dies: Actress With Back-to-Back Oscars Was 104

Image: Luise Rainer Dies: Actress With Back-to-Back Oscars Was 104
Picture dated 05 September 2011 shows actress Luise Rainer cheering after receiving a Golden Star on the Boulevard of the Stars in Berlin, Germany. (Soeren Stache/DPA/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 09:35 AM

Luise Rainer, a Hollywood star who was among a small group of actors to ever win back-to-back Academy Awards, has died of pneumonia. She was 104.

"She was bigger than life and could charm the birds out of the trees," Francesca Knittel-Bowyer, Rainer's daughter, told the BBC News. She confirmed that her mother died at her home in London. "If you saw her, you'd never forget her.''

Rainer won consecutive Oscars for her performances in "The Great Ziegfeld" in 1936 and "The Good Earth" in 1937, but would later leave the film industry all together, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Besides Rainer, Katharine Hepburn was the only other female to win back-to-back Oscars for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" in 1967 and "A Lion in Winter" in 1968. Spencer Tracy, Jason Robards and Tom Hanks were the only male actors to ever win consecutive Oscars.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Rainer became frustrated with the industry, particularly MGM for the roles the studio selected for her. She would break her contract with MGM in 1938 citing lack of artistic freedom and became more reclusive.

The Los Angeles Times wrote that Rainer would later describe her consecutive Oscar wins as "the worst thing that could have happened" to her.

"When I got two Oscars, they thought, 'Oh, they can throw me into anything,'" Rainer said in a 1999 interview with The Associated Press.

The Times wrote Rainer became increasing unhappy about her roles after 1938's "Toy Wife" and "The Great Waltz," and moved to New York with first husband, playwright Clifford Odets.

"I was a machine, practically, a tool in a big, big factory, and I could not do anything," Rainer said in her 1999 interview. "I wanted to film 'Madame Curie,' but (MGM chief Louis B. Mayer) forbade me. I wanted to do 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' but (producer David O.) Selznick took Ingrid Bergman and brought her to (Ernest) Hemingway and I didn't know Hemingway. And so I left. I just went away. I fled; yes, I fled."

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Luise Rainer, a Hollywood star who was among a small group of actors to ever win back-to-back Academy Awards, has died of pneumonia. She was 104.
luise rainer, dies, back-to-back, oscars
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2014-35-30
Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 09:35 AM
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