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Double Oscar Winning Actress Luise Rainer Dies at 104

Image: Double Oscar Winning Actress Luise Rainer Dies at 104
Hollywood Actress Luise Rainer. (Soeren Stache/DPA/Landov)

Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 08:25 AM

Hollywood actress Luise Rainer, who won back-to-back Oscars in the 1930s, has died at the age of 104.

Rainer worked in her teens as a stage actress for Austrian director Max Reinhardt, and later appeared in a number of German-language films. She was spotted by an MGM talent scout on the look out for the next Greta Garbo, and appeared in her first Hollywood movie, "Escapade," in 1935.

Next, she starred in "The Great Ziegfeld," in which she played the wife of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld. The role won her the Academy Award in 1936. The following year she won the Oscar again for the lead role in "The Good Earth," an adaptation of Pearl S. Buck's novel.

The only other actors to have won Oscars in consecutive years are Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards and Tom Hanks.

Rainer's career quickly unraveled after her Oscar wins. She fell out with MGM chief Louis B. Mayer, and broke her contract with the studio, moving to New York. She appeared in only one other Hollywood film, "Hostages" in 1943. She later moved to Switzerland and London.

Rainer appeared in a succession of TV movies and series in the 1940s and 1950s, but performed in only a handful of productions in the following decades. Her final movie role was 1998's "The Gambler," an adaptation of a Fyodor Dostoyevsky story, in which she played alongside Michael Gambon.

She married playwright Clifford Odets in 1937, but the tempestuous relationship survived only three years. In 1944 she married publisher Robert Knittel, and that marriage lasted until his death in 1989.

Rainer is survived by her daughter, Francesca Knittel-Bowyer, who said her mother had died of pneumonia at her home in London.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Hollywood actress Luise Rainer, who won back-to-back Oscars in the 1930s, has died at the age of 104. Rainer worked in her teens as a stage actress for Austrian director Max Reinhardt, and later appeared in a number of German-language films. She was spotted by an MGM talent...
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2014-25-30
Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 08:25 AM
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