Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992): Anti-Fascist, Bisexual, Movie Star, Vegas Headliner, Fashion Icon, Recording Artist, and Ultimate Gay Icon. She was friendly with Ronnie and Nancy Reagan, but I like to consider what members of today’s American White Nationalist Party (GOP) might make of Dietrich. Do you think any of them would even know who she was? Just one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century and one of those damn immigrants!
Dietrich is a study of contrasts. She was known for her discipline and dedication to her craft while unapologetically breaking social barriers and embracing female independence.
She brought androgyny to film with Morocco (1930), Shanghai Express (1932) and Seven Sinners (1940). The biggest Hollywood star at a time when talkies were still new, Dietrich challenged strictly limited notions of femininity through her lifestyle and fashion. She once stated:
I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.
Dietrich received many honors including the Medal of Freedom for her service entertaining American troops for 18 months during World War II, often near the front lines. The German-born star, who became an American citizen in 1939, remains a symbol of anti-Nazism, a Fashion Icon and an influential figure for the LGBTQ community.