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Nurnaningsih (top down; Hollywood; 1955) - Restored (no name).jpg
Nurnaningsih in 1955
Born(1925-12-05)5 December 1925
Surabaya, Dutch East Indies
Died21 March 2004(2004-03-21) (aged 78)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Resting place Menteng Pulo Cemetery
Nationality Indonesians
  • Actress
  • teacher
  • painter
Years active1953–1988
Kartono Yudhokusomo
(m. 1945;div. 1952)

Basir Ibrahim
(m. 1955,divorced)

Yan Karel Thomas

Nurnaningsih (5 December 1925 – 21 March 2004) was an Indonesian actress. She has been described as Indonesia's first sex bomb. [1]



Nurnaningsih was born on 5 December 1925, at Darmo Hospital in Surabaya, Dutch East Indies, to Raden Nganten Soekini Martindjung and Raden Kadjat Kartodarmodjo. [2] She was the second child from the eighth children, her brothers were Hemoko, Daryono and Prawito. [2] While her sisters were Nurpeni, Nurkeni, Nureti, and Nurbarti. [2] Her father was the descendant of Sultan Agung of Mataram, while her mother was the descendant of Prabu Brawijaya V. [2] Nurnaningsih dropped out of school in the first year of senior high school. She made her feature film debut in 1953 with Usmar Ismail's Krisis (Crisis). [3] [4] The comedy was the most successful film since Terang Boelan in 1937. [5]

In D. Djajakusuma's 1954 film Harimau Tjampa (Tiger from Tjampa) she appeared half nude aka lingerie model, [1] making her the first native Indonesian actress in such a role. [4] This occurred during a period of contention between artists and the censorship board. [6] She later told the press: "I am not ruining art. I'm breaking away the old views of art that are still held in Indonesia." [lower-alpha 1] [4] She released another film, Klenting Kuning, later that year. [3]

Nurnaningsih in bikini, which then earned her criticism and controversy in mid-1954 Nurnaningsih in bikini c. 1955 - before restoration.jpg
Nurnaningsih in bikini, which then earned her criticism and controversy in mid-1954

In mid-1954 nude pictures of Nurnaningsih by an unknown photographer began circulating in Jakarta. This resulted in her being brought in for questioning by the Jakarta police in early October, while the prosecutor's office also expressed an interest in the case. [7] The general populace was outraged at the pictures, which they considered to be against Eastern values, and Nurnaningsih's films were boycotted in East Kalimantan. [8] She released one film in 1955, Kebun Binatang (Zoo), before disappearing from the spotlight. [3]

Nurnaningsih wandered the Indonesian archipelago for twelve years, taking odd jobs as a sketch artist, stage performer, English and Dutch language teacher, seamstress, pianist, singer, and – for six years – a football goalkeeper. [9] She returned to film in 1968 with a bit part in Djakarta, Hongkong, Macao. After several more bit parts, she headlined in Seribu Janji Kumenanti (A Thousand Promises I Await) in 1972. She continued taking roles in the 1980s. [3]

Personal life

Nurnaningsih is a Evangelicalism faith, [10] she was married and divorced twelve times. [11] Nurnaningsih was first married to painter artist Kartono Yudhokusumo (18 December 1924 – 11 July 1957) on 1945, at the age of 18. They had a two children named Karti Yudaningsih and Raden Julius Hargowo Bintoro. [12] After they divorced in 1952, Nurnaningsih married for second time in April 1955, she married a former lieutenant named Basir Ibrahim. [12] They had a daughter named Maria Nina Zunaria, The couple were divorced one year after their daughter was born. [12] During an interview, Nurnaningsih said her second husband motive for marrying her is nothing more than just wanted to taking advantage of her popularity. [12] During her trip to Ternate, she met and married her third husband Yan Karel Thomas, they divorced. [2] After divorced, Nurnaningsih gave birth to her youngest son Yanto Ganggono, She is also had been gifted a house by Bung Karno. [2]

Nurnaningsih said she was inspired to became a movie star when she saw a movie played by Miss Roekiah, at the age of 14. [2]

Illness and death

By the end of 1990s, Nurnaningsih suffered from Paralysis and Diabetes mellitus. [12]

Nurnaningsih died at her third daughter residence in Tebet, South Jakarta, on 21 March 2004. She was buried at Menteng Pulo Cemetery, in South Jakarta. [12]



  1. Original: "Saya tidak akan memerosotkan kesenian, melainkan hendak melenyapkan pandangan-pandangan kolot yang masih terdapat dalam kesenian Indonesia."

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Cinta dan Nestapa Nurnaningsih". Femina. 1995.
  3. 1 2 3 4 National Library, Nurnaningsih.
  4. 1 2 3 Imanjaya 2006, pp. 107–108.
  5. Anwar 2004, p. 84.
  6. Lombard 1996, p. 205.
  7. Suara Merdeka 1954, Nurnaningsih jang Telandjang.
  8. Suara Merdeka 1954, Lagi Soal Nurnaningsih.
  9. Aneka Ria (in Indonesian). 1980. p. 1.
  10. Sarinah Magazine (in Indonesian). 1987.
  11. Sonata (in Indonesian). 1978. p. 50.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Historia Magazine (in Indonesian). 2017.