Marianne Stefanie Paula Henni Gertrud Hoppe was born on April 26, 1909 in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Germany. Hoppe became a leading lady of stage and films in Germany. She was born into a wealthy land owning family and was initially privately educated on her father's private estate. Later she attended school in Berlin and in Weimar, where she began to attend theatre.
Hoppe first performed at 17 as a member of Berlin's Deutsches Theater under director Max Reinhardt. In 1935 she was hired by the controversial German actor and Director of the Prussian State Theatre under the Third Reich, Gustav Gründgens [1899-1963]. They were married from 1936-1946. One of the characters in the film Mephisto is based on her. Another is based on Gründgens. Hoppe made no secret of her contacts with the Nazi elite in the 1930s and 40's, including being invited to dinner by Hitler. Her role in “Der Schimmelreiter” (“The Rider of the White Horse”, 1933) made her famous almost overnight, while her "Aryan" face made her a darling of the Nazi elite. Later Hoppe would label this period of her life as "the black page in my golden book".
During her time acting at the home of the Prussian State Theatre, the Schauspielhaus, Hoppe developed her analytical approach to acting, which she stated consisted in her "taking apart every sentence" and giving the use of language a brilliance. This method was to be associated with Hoppe throughout her working life. 1946 her only child Benedict Hoppe was born from an affair with British journalist Ralph Izzard.
Four years later after her divorce from Gründgens, Hoppe had a great success as Blanche Dubois in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, and increasingly played avant-garde roles, written by authors such as Heiner Muller (“Quartett”, 1994) and Thomas Bernhard, who became her partner in private life as well. She became a favorite of the young and iconoclastic directors Claus Peymann, Robert Wilson and Frank Castorf. She would appear in two Euro-westerns: “The Treasure of Silver Lake” (1962) as Mrs. Butler and “Massacre at Marble City” (1963) as Mrs. Brendel.
Hoppe died in Siegsdorf, Oberbayern, Bavaria, on October 23, 2002 from natural causes, aged 93.
Today we remember Marianne Hoppe on what would have been her 105th birthday.
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