Anny Ondra

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



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.

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.

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, 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] However, when Blackmail was remade with sound, Ondra's thick accent was considered unacceptable, so her dialogue was recorded by actress Joan Barry. Ondra made some 40 more films in the sound era, the last in 1957, and in total over 90 films.

Ondra's career in the UK was hurt by the introduction of talking pictures. A test film has survived of Hitchcock "interviewing" Ondra, in which the director teases the actress and asks her some personal questions, making her embarrassed. She returned to Germany and married boxer Max Schmeling in 1933.

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
1922Führe uns nicht in VersuchungSilent
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
1937Ein Mädel vom BallettHenriette 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



  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.
  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