Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy 70th Birthday Elke Sommer

Elke Schletz was born on November 5, 1940 in Berlin, Germany, to a Lutheran minister and his wife. After World War II the family lived in Erlangen. Being from a poor family she was still able to attend the prestigious Gymnasium High School in Erlangen. Her father died when she was 14 and as a result her education came to an end. She moved to England to perfect her English and to make a living. While on vacation in Italy she was spotted by director Vittorio De Sica and started making appearances in films in the late 1950s. Changing her name to Elke Sommer, she quickly became a sex symbol and moved to Hollywood in the 1960s. Between 1959 and 2005 she made over 90 films and television appearances including, "A Shot in the Dark" (1964) with Peter Sellers, "The Art of Love" (1965) with James Garner, "The Oscar"with Stephen Boyd, "Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number" with Bob Hope, "Deadlier Than the Male" all in 1966 and "The Wrecking Crew" with Dean Martin (1969). In 1964 she won a Golden Globe Award as Most Promising Newcomer for her performance in "The Prize" with Paul Newman and Edward G. Robinson. In 1972 she appeared in two classic Mario Bava Horror films "Baron Blood" and "Lisa and the Devil" which was re-edited and released in 1975 as "House of Exorcism". Also in 1975 she appeared in Peter Rogers "Carry on Behind". Elke appeared in one Euro-western, "Frontier Hellcat" (1964) with Stewart Granger and Pierre Brice. During her film career she also became a singer and released several albums. Elke was once married to writer Joe Hyams [1923-2008] from 1964-1981. In the early 1990s she turned away from acting and began a successful painting career. Elke now lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Wolf Walther. Today we celebrate Elke Sommer’s 70th Birthday.

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