Anny Ondra

Last updated
Anny Ondra
Anny Ondra (1902-1987) (c) Madame d'Ora (1881-1963).jpg
Anna Sophie Ondráková

(1903-05-15)15 May 1903
Died28 February 1987(1987-02-28) (aged 83)
Nationality Czech
Years active19191951
Spouse(s) Max Schmeling (19331987)
Partner(s) Karl Lamac

Anny Ondra (born Anna Sophie Ondráková, 15 May 1903 28 February 1987) was a Czech film actress. She was married to German boxing champion Max Schmeling. She was born in Tarnów, Galicia, Austria–Hungary, now Poland, and died in Hollenstedt near Harburg, West Germany.

Max Schmeling German boxer

Maximillian Adolph Otto Siegfried Schmeling was a German boxer who was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932. His two fights with Joe Louis in 1936 and 1938 were worldwide cultural events because of their national associations.

Tarnów Place in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

Tarnów (Polish pronunciation: [ˈtarnuf]; is a city in southeastern Poland with 109,062 inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of 269,000 inhabitants. The city is situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999. From 1975 to 1998, it was the capital of the Tarnów Voivodeship. It is a major rail junction, located on the strategic east–west connection from Lviv to Kraków, and two additional lines, one of which links the city with the Slovak border. Tarnów is known for its traditional Polish architecture, which was strongly influenced by foreign cultures and foreigners that once lived in the area, most notably Jews, Germans and Austrians. The entire Old Town, featuring 16th century tenements, houses and defensive walls, has been fully preserved. Tarnów is also the warmest city of Poland, with the highest long-term mean annual temperature in the whole country.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.



The daughter of a Czech, Austro-Hungarian officer, Ondra spent her childhood in Tarnów, Pula and Prague. Her father's name was Bohumír and mother's name Anna. She had two brothers, Tomáš and Jindřich.

Pula City in Istria County, Croatia

Pula is the largest city in Istria County, Croatia and the eighth largest city in the country, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, with a population of 57,460 in 2011. It is known for its multitude of ancient Roman buildings, the most famous of which is the Pula Arena, one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters, and its beautiful sea. The city has a long tradition of wine making, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism. It was the administrative centre of Istria from ancient Roman times until superseded by Pazin in 1991.

Prague Capital of Czechia

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the northwest of Czechia on the Vltava river, Prague is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, with relatively warm summers and chilly winters.

At seventeen she played in the theater and acted in her first film. The film was directed by her boyfriend, director Karel Lamač. [1] When her family learned of it, they had a shouting match in which the teenager received a beating from her father - to be an actress, soon after the First World War, was socially almost at the level of a being a beggar. Anna had been educated at a convent school and her father had found for her an official government position. Anna preferred a film career and began to live with Karel Lamač. "I swim like a fish, ride like a cowboy, and I would do it all if the film required it," summarized the nineteen-year-old. After some years she wanted to begin a family, but Lamač did not want to marry. So, after a three-year romance, on 6 July 1933 Ondra married German boxer Max Schmeling, with whom she appeared in the film Knock-out (1935). Their marriage was a happy one, although childless: Ondra miscarried after a car accident in 1936 and could no longer have children. They were married until she died in 1987. Lamač remained her friend throughout his lifetime. He died in her arms in 1952 in Hamburg.

Karel Lamač Czech film director

Karel Lamač was a Czech film director, actor, screenwriter and producer. He directed 102 films between 1919 and 1952. He also appeared in 61 films between 1919 and 1938.

Knockout is a 1935 German sports film directed by Carl Lamac and Hans H. Zerlett and starring Anny Ondra, Max Schmeling and Hans Schönrath. After impressing a boxing trainer during a brawl over a woman, a young man is recruited and trained to be a boxer. He fights and defeats the British champion.

Wedding of Max Schmeling and Anny Ondra (1933) Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14813, Brautpaar Max Schmeling und Anny Ondra.jpg
Wedding of Max Schmeling and Anny Ondra (1933)

Throughout their marriage, German fascists tried to exploit the fame and popularity of Ondra and Schmeling. They were often seen in photos with Goebbels and Hitler - Max as a German superman and Anny as a blonde Aryan (Max was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932). However, they never collaborated: Max refused to accept honours and even secretly helped to hide two Jewish children, saving their lives. In Nazi Germany this was a capital offence. After the war, they were penalised financially for collaboration, and an arrest warrant was issued in Czechoslovakia. Nazi propaganda was taken literally and Schmeling never visited Ondra's homeland.

After the war, they were left without funds and assets. In 1949 they moved to Hollenstedt near Hamburg, and in the 1950s Schmeling began working for The Coca-Cola Company.

Ondra was buried in the Saint Andreas Friedhof cemetery in Hollenstedt, West Germany. Her husband Max Schmeling died in 2005 and was buried next to her. [2] The heritage of Anny and Max has been referred to as the Max-Schmeling-Stiftung foundation.

Film career

She acted in Czech, Austrian, and German comedies in the 1920s; and in some British dramas, most notably Alfred Hitchcock's The Manxman and Blackmail (both 1929). Ondra formed a production company, Ondra-Lamac-Films, with her boyfriend, director Karel Lamač. [3] Lamac directed her in several silent films, acted with her in films directed by other filmmakers, and continued to work together after her marriage with Max. [4]

Czechoslovakia 1918–1992 country in Central Europe, predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising nine federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly nine million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is landlocked and highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Ondra's career in the UK was hurt by the introduction of talking pictures. A minute-long test film where Ondra speaks English has survived, in which Hitchcock chauvinistically asks the actress if she is a "bad woman" and if she sleeps with men, making her leave before the reel ends. When Blackmail was remade with sound, Ondra's thick accent was considered unacceptable, so her dialogue was recorded by actress Joan Barry. She returned to Germany and married boxer Max Schmeling in 1933.

Sound film Motion picture with synchronized sound

A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades passed before sound motion pictures were made commercially practical. Reliable synchronization was difficult to achieve with the early sound-on-disc systems, and amplification and recording quality were also inadequate. Innovations in sound-on-film led to the first commercial screening of short motion pictures using the technology, which took place in 1923.

Joan Barry (British actress) British actress

Joan Barry, born Ina Florence Marshman Bell was an English stage and film actress, whose career straddled the development of talkies.

Ondra made some 40 more films in the sound era, the last in 1957, and in total over 90 films.

Ondra was portrayed by Britt Ekland in the television movie Ring of Passion (1978), wherein the character was named "Amy Ondra Schmeling". She was also portrayed by Peta Wilson in the historical boxing docudrama Joe and Max (2002).

Selected filmography

1920 Gilly poprvé v Praze Silent
1920 Lady with the Small Foot Silent
1922 Look After Your Daughters Silent
1922 Gypsy Love Silent
1922 Lead Us Not into Temptation Silent
1926 Hraběnka z Podskalí LiduskaSilent
Trude Silent
Never the Twain Zuzka Pestová / Lili WeberováSilent
1927 Die Pratermizzi PratermizziSilent
Pantáta BezoušekMelankaSilent
Hotel Erzherzogin ViktoriaSteffi HaideggerSilent
Anicko, vrat se!Anicka KaresováSilent
Kvet ze SumavyDánaSilent
The Lovers of an Old Criminal Fifi HrazánkováSilentwith Vlasta Burian
1928 Eve's Daughters Nina Laval / Anny de LavaisSilent
God's Clay Angela CliffordSilentDirected by Graham Cutts
Glorious Youth EileenSilentDirected by Graham Cutts
The First Kiss Anny CordSilent
Suzy Saxophone Anni von AspenSilent
1929 The Manxman Kate CregeenSilentDirected by Alfred Hitchcock
Sinful and Sweet MusetteSilent
Blackmail Alice WhiteEnglishDirected by Alfred Hitchcock
The Girl with the Whip Anny NebenkrugSilent
1930 The Caviar Princess AnnemarieSilent
Das Mädel aus U.S.A.AnnemarieGerman
Fairground People Anny FlockGerman
Eine Freundin, so goldig wie DuAnnyGerman
1931 Him and His Sister Anny BrabcováCzechwith Vlasta Burian
Er und seine SchwesterAnny SpatzGermanwith Vlasta Burian
Die Fledermaus AdeleGermanwith Iván Petrovich and Georg Alexander
1932 Mamsell Nitouche Mamsell NitoucheGermanwith Georg Alexander
A Night in Paradise Monika BöhnickeGermanwith Hermann Thimig
La Chauve-Souris  [ fr ]ArletteFrenchwith Iván Petrovich
Une nuit au paradisMonique BéchueFrench
Faut-il les marier ? AnnyFrenchwith Jean-Pierre Aumont
Die grausame Freundin WelgundaGerman
Kiki KikiGermanwith Hermann Thimig
KikiKikiFrenchwith Pierre Richard-Willm
Baby [5] BabyGermanwith Anton Walbrook
1933Baby [6] BabyFrenchwith Pierre Richard-Willm
The Ideal Schoolmaster Vera MatysováCzech
Daughter of the Regiment Mary DreizehnGerman
La fille du régimentMaryFrenchwith Pierre Richard-Willm
Fräulein Hoffmanns ErzählungenAnita LimannGermanwith Mathias Wieman
The Love Hotel Hanne BollGermanwith Mathias Wieman
1934Die vertauschte BrautVirginia Vanderloo / CollyGermanwith Anton Walbrook
L'amour en cageLa baronne de Rèze / AnnyFrench
Little Dorrit Amy DorritGermanwith Mathias Wieman
Polish Blood Helena ZarembaGermanwith Hans Moser and Iván Petrovich
Polská krevHelena ZarembováCzech
1935 Knockout Marianne PlümkeGermanwith her husband Max Schmeling
GroßreinemachenBessieGermanwith Wolf Albach-Retty
The Young Count BillyGermanwith Hans Söhnker
1936 Donogoo Tonka JosetteGermanDirected by Reinhold Schünzel
FlitterwochenIngeborgGermanwith Hans Söhnker
1937 A Girl from the Chorus Henriette LangeGerman
Vor Liebe wird gewarntAnny PalmeGerman
Cause for Divorce AnnyGerman
Důvod k rozvoduAnny PlavcovaCzech
The Irresistible Man Claudette RenierGermanwith Hans Söhnker
1938Narren im SchneeDorothee HeinemannGerman
1941 The Gasman Erika KnittelGermanwith Heinz Rühmann
1943 Heaven, We Inherit a Castle German
1951 You Have to be Beautiful Rode de LilaGermanwith Sonja Ziemann
1957 The Zurich Engagement Anny OndraGermanwith Liselotte Pulver


Related Research Articles

<i>Blackmail</i> (1929 film) 1929 film by Alfred Hitchcock

Blackmail is a 1929 British thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, and Cyril Ritchard. Based on the 1928 play of the same name by Charles Bennett, the film is about a London woman who is blackmailed after killing a man who tries to rape her.

Karel Havlíček Borovský is a 1925 Czechoslovak biographical film drama directed by Karel Lamač. It is about Karel Havlíček Borovský and is set during the 1848 revolutions.

<i>Max Schmeling</i> (film) 2010 German biographical film directed by Uwe Boll

Max Schmeling is a 2010 German biographical film directed by Uwe Boll. The film tells the story of German boxing icon Max Schmeling. It was released abroad under the title Max Schmeling: Fist of the Reich.

<i>Joe and Max</i> 2002 television film directed by Steve James

Joe and Max is a 2002 American-German boxing film directed by Steve James and based on the true story of the two boxing matches between American Joe Louis and German Max Schmeling.

Jaro Fürth Austrian actor

Jaro Fürth was an Austrian stage and film actor.

<i>The Zurich Engagement</i> 1957 West German comedy film directed by Helmut Käutner

The Zurich Engagement is a 1957 West German comedy film directed by Helmut Käutner and starring Liselotte Pulver, Paul Hubschmid and Bernhard Wicki. A young woman working at a dentist's office falls in love with one of the patients. She writes down her fantasies about him, but problems arise when her words are discovered and are turned into a screenplay for a new film. It is also known by the alternative title The Affairs of Julie.

<i>Fairground People</i> 1930 film by Karel Lamač

Fairground People is a 1930 German comedy film directed by Carl Lamac and starring Anny Ondra, Sig Arno and Margarete Kupfer. The film was made shortly after the sound revolution, which had damaged Ondra's career in British films and led her to return to Germany. It showcased Ondra's talents as a musical comedy star who sings and dances. Ondra's character dresses up as Mickey Mouse for her performances, and the film was known by the alternative title of Mickey Mouse Girl.

<i>Cause for Divorce</i> 1937 film by Karel Lamač

Cause for Divorce is a 1937 Czech-German comedy drama film directed by Carl Lamac and starring Anny Ondra, Jack Trevor and Robert Dorsay. It was Ondra's last film to be directed by Lamac, and after he left Germany her career rapidly declined.

<i>Polish Blood</i> 1934 film by Karel Lamač

Polish Blood is a 1934 musical film directed by Carl Lamac and starring Anny Ondra, Hans Moser and Iván Petrovich. It is an operetta film, based on a work by the Polish-born writer Leo Stein. The film's sets were designed by art directors Bohumil Hes and Stepán Kopecký. A separate Czech language version was also released.

Never the Twain is a 1926 Czech silent comedy film directed by Karel Lamač and starring Jan W. Speerger, Betty Kysilková and Anny Ondra. It is based on a play by František Langer. The son of a wealth industrialist marries the daughter of a beggar.

Lady with the Small Foot is a 1920 Czech silent comedy film directed by Jan S. Kolár and Premysl Prazský and starring Olga Augustová, František Pelísek and Gustav Machatý. The actress Anny Ondra got her breakthrough in a supporting role, and soon under the direction of Karel Lamač had emerged as Czechoslovakia's leading comedy star.

Look After Your Daughters is a 1922 Austrian silent comedy film directed by Sidney M. Goldin and starring Franz Höbling, Anny Ondra and Carl Lamac.

The Love Hotel is a 1933 German comedy film directed by Carl Lamac and starring Anny Ondra, Mathias Wieman and Peter Voß. The film's sets were designed by the art directors Wilhelm Depenau and Erich Zander. A separate French-language version was also made.

<i>Eves Daughters</i> 1928 film by Karel Lamač

Eve's Daughters is a 1928 Czech-German silent drama film directed by Carl Lamac and starring Anny Ondra, Wolfgang Zilzer and Steffie Vida.

Daughter of the Regiment is a 1933 Austrian-German comedy film directed by Carl Lamac and starring Anny Ondra, Werner Fuetterer and Adele Sandrock. It is loosely based on the 1840 opera La fille du regiment by Gaetano Donizetti, with the setting updated from the Napoleonic to the First World War. A separate French-language version was also released, with Ondra reprising her role.

<i>Die Fledermaus</i> (1931 film) 1931 film by Karel Lamač

Die Fledermaus is a 1931 French-German musical film directed by Karel Lamač and starring Anny Ondra, Georg Alexander and Oskar Sima. It is an operetta film based on the 1874 stage work Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss.


  1. Canning, Mike (December 2008). "At The Movies: Holiday Season Brings a New Spate of Dramas". Hill Rag. Archived from the original on 2008-12-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. "Boxing legend Max Schmeling dies at 99". USA Today . Berlin: The Associated Press. February 4, 2005.
  3. Canning, Mike (December 2008). "At The Movies: Holiday Season Brings a New Spate of Dramas". Hill Rag. Archived from the original on 2009-03-25.
  4. "Funny Ladies 1". La Cineteca del Friuli. 2002.
  5. Baby (1932) on IMDb
  6. Baby (1933) on IMDb