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Marion Michael

Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam, no. 1009. Photo: Ufa.


German film actress and singer Marion Michael (1940-2007) was a one hit wonder as Liane, the jungle girl. The blond beauty has become an icon of the German cinema as a female Tarzan.


When she was only 15, Marion Michael was selected out of allegedly 12,000 entries for the lead in Liane, das Mädchen aus dem Urwald (1956, Eduard von Borsody). This adventure movie was largely shot on location in Africa. The story is about a girl who is discovered by an expedition group (which includes Hardy Krüger) in the African jungle. A tribe adores her as a goddess. It turns out that she is Liane, the long lost granddaughter of a rich shipowner in Hamburg. Although Michael appeared topless during the first half of the movie, she was acceptable for family audiences as the nature child with no obvious erotic suggestiveness. The movie was a huge box office hit, but unfortunately this success would not be matched by any of her other films.


Marion Michael played next in the comedy Der tolle Bomberg (1957, Rolf Thiele), the sequel Liane, die weiße Sklavin (1957, Hermann Leitner) and the crime film Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1960, Georg Jacoby) with Eddie Constantine. During the shooting of Bomben auf Monte Carlo she had a car accident that left her face temporarily scarred. She recovered and returned to acting in Schlußakkord (1960, Wolfgang Liebeneiner), the Schlagerfilm Davon träumen alle Mädchen (1961, Thomas Engel) and Jack und Jenny (1963, Victor Vicas), but her luck had faded. The following decade she mainly worked for theatre and tv. She suffered a severe depression and retired from acting in 1976. For a while she worked as a saleswoman and in 1979 she took the unusual step of moving from West to East Germany, where she worked as a synchronisation assistant for tv. Only occasionally she acted in films such as In Hassliebe Lola (1995, Lothar Lambert) and Blond bis aufs Blut (1997, Lothar Lambert). Her life became the topic of a tv musical, Liane (1996, Horst Königstein). In 2007 she died of heart failure at the age of 66.


Sources: Variety, Filmportal.de, Steffi-line.de, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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Taken on October 12, 2008