Titien Sumarni

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Titien Sumarni
Titien Sumarni, Film Varia 1.5, cover.jpg
Sumarni in 1954
Born28 December 19? [Note 1]
Surabaya, Dutch East Indies
Died(1966-05-13)13 May 1966 (aged 30–38)
Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Nationality Indonesian
Years active1951–1956
R. Mustari
(m. 1948,divorced)
Laurens Saerang

Raden Ajeng Titien Sumarni (28 December 19? [Note 1] – 13 May 1966) was an Indonesian actress and producer who was active in the 1950s. She was called the most beautiful actress in the 1950s. Born in Surabaya, she moved to Tasikmalaya as a child and developed an interest in stage acting, trained by her uncle and future husband Mustari, later acting for republican troops during the Indonesian National Revolution. Sumarni began acting in film in 1951, making her debut with Seruni Laju. Over her five-year career Sumarni acted in thirty films, established her own film production company, and became one of the most popular Indonesian actresses of her time. Following her final film, Sumarni fell out of the spotlight, eventually dying in 1966.


Early life

Sumarni in November 1953 Titien Sumarni Film Varia Nov 1953 p18.jpg
Sumarni in November 1953

Sumarni was born on 28 December 19? [Note 1] in Surabaya, Dutch East Indies. [4] [5] She was the only child of mixed JavaneseSundanese descent. [6] Her father, an assistant wedana in Surabaya, died when she was three. Sumarni's mother, RA Sarimanah, started a hotel business to earn money for their daily need, and when Sumarni was aged six she moved to her mother's town in Tasikmalaya. [7] [2]

Personal life

Marriages, relationships, and children

Sumarni with her first husband, R. Mustari Titien Sumarni and Raden Mustari, Film Varia 1.4 (March 1954), p13.jpg
Sumarni with her first husband, R. Mustari

While in junior high school in Bandung, at the age of 15, Sumarni began studying acting under her uncle R. Mustari, who was 16 years her senior. [8] He later became her husband; according to the author Rd. Lingga Wisjnu, this was taken as revenge against her lover, an Indonesian military officer who cheated on her with Mustari's wife. [9] After marriage, Sumarni dropped out of school and began a career as a stage actress, entertaining troops fighting in the Indonesian National Revolution until she moved with her husband to Jakarta. [10] The couple had one children, a son named Tommy Sjarif. [11]

Sometime after she gained popularity, she divorced Mustari and married Laurens Saerang, a rich entrepreneur from North Sulawesi. [12] [13] Sumarni was reported to have had affair with several man such as Enoch Datubrata, former West Java Police Chief Entje Senu Abdul Rachman, and Sampetoding, which later made her pregnant, and then gave birth to her another four son. [11] [14]

Sumarni was involved in a romantic relationship with Muhammad Jahja Ali, a businessman who was her father colleague. They had met in 1939, when Sumarni was seven years old, and he who was already working as a Hollandsche Beton Maatschappij employee in Surabaya. Sumarni later often came to his house and made a friend with his wife's sister, they stopped seeing each other after Sumarni's married to Mustari and moved to Jakarta.


Sumarni surrounded by crowd in January 1956 Titien Sumarni surrounded by a crowd Film Varia Jan 1956 p17.jpg
Sumarni surrounded by crowd in January 1956

Sumarni is considered as one of glamorous Indonesian stars by Film Varia, she owned two luxury cars through her life. [15]

Illness and death

On 7 August 1959, Sumarni who was in a state of depression was seeing walking barefoot in the street of Bandung, and later caused traffic jam. [14] [3] She was reportedly depressed due to failed on suing her lover, Muhammad Jahja Ali, who she claimed to be the biological father of her children. [3] After being found depressed and sick, she was treated by pedicab driver, who then took her for treatment to a shaman called Mamah Atjeng. [3]

Sumarni then lived with Atjeng for two months, and was later found by a journalist, Hajat Tatos Kusuma, who later took her to Bandung Advent Hospital in Coblong, Bandung. [3] The Indonesian entertainment news website KapanLagi.com reports that, at the time, she was living alone, had lost a considerable amount of weight, and was suffering from a lung infection. [16]

After being treated for a week, Sumarni's health began to improved. [1] But later, she received and eat a black sticky rice from anonymous person, which made her health began to deteriorated. [1] The doctor then planned to doing operation on her, but Sumarni died at 23.53 WIB (UTC+07:00) before the midnight of 14 May 1966, and her age was reported as 38. [4] [17] [1] Her doctor, Benjamin K. Supit, stated that she died from poisoning. [3] But on 13 June 1966, Harian Selecta wrote that Sumarni died from the complication of her long illness coupled with bouts of defecation continuously which makes her dehydrated. [3]


Sumarni (center right) in Kenangan Masa (1951) Grace, Nana Mayo, Titien Sumarni, and Nancy, Actresses in Kenangan Masa (1951).jpg
Sumarni (center right) in Kenangan Masa (1951)

Sumarni became interested in the Indonesian film industry in 1950, after seeing Nana Mayo in Inspektur Rachman . [18] With her husband's permission, she entered the industry in 1951 through an acquaintance, Harun Al-Rasyid, who was an employee at the Golden Arrow Film Company. Al-Rasyid in turn introduced her to Rd Ariffien, a director. Sumarni soon made her feature film debut in Golden Arrow's Seruni Laju; [4] this was followed by a role in Kino Drama Atelier's Kenangan Masa and Gadis Olahraga (both 1951), though as the films' production schedules coincided Sumarni had contract difficulties. [19]

After the death of Dr. Huyung, the manager and director for Kino Drama Atelier, Sumarni was contracted to Djamaluddin Malik's Persari, but migrated to Fred Young's Bintang Surabaja after she promoted cigarettes during an exhibition. [19] There would subsequently be rumors into 1955 that her relations with Persari were stressed, though she later made peace with Malik. [20] Sumarni's first production with Bintang Surabaja, Putri Solo (1953), was a major commercial success, breaking box-office records throughout the country. Sumarni's fan mail increased from 20 to 30 letters a day to several hundred. [21] She was praised for her acting and sex appeal by film critique, who later said that she was quite interesting for Indonesian cinema. [2]

Titien Sumarni (left) with President Sukarno (right) Titien Sumarni with President Sukarno, Sejarah Hidup RA Titien Sumarni, p62.jpg
Titien Sumarni (left) with President Sukarno (right)

By 1954, Sumarni was one of the most popular Indonesian actresses. [4] She was widely recognized by the mole over her lip and was considered one of Indonesia's most beautiful actresses. [12] Dunia Film described her as the Marilyn Monroe of Indonesia. [22] Reportedly President Sukarno's favorite actress, [12] Sumarni was deemed the "Queen of the Silver Screen" after a survey conducted by several magazines, including Kentjana and Dunia Film, in 1954. [4] [17]

Sumarni established her own film company, Titien Sumarni Motion Pictures, in 1954. [23] Rather than build her own studios, Sumarni used those of Usmar Ismail's Perfini, paying nothing; the company considered its renting of the facilities to be repayment of debts they had incurred from Mustari during the production of Krisis (1953). [20] Titien Sumarni Motion Pictures produced five films. The first, Putri dari Medan, starred Sumarni as the titular woman from Medan. After having her first child, Sumarni took a hiatus from acting. Her company, however, produced two films during this time: Mertua Sinting and Tengah Malam. Two final films, Sampah and Saidjah Putri Pantai, followed in 1955 and 1956; Sumarni again took the lead roles. [4] [17] [23] She made her final film, Djandjiku, in 1956.


Sumarni and Henny Temple in Konde Tjioda (1954) Titien Sumarni in Konde Tjioda, Peran Pemuda dalam Kebangkitan Film Indonesia, p139.jpg
Sumarni and Henny Temple in Konde Tjioda (1954)

During her five-year career, Sumarni acted in thirty films. She was also sound manager on one film and, through her company Titien Sumarni Motion Pictures, producer of five. [24] [17]


  • Seruni Laju (1951)
  • Kenangan Masa (1951)
  • Gadis Olahraga (1951)
  • Main-Main Djadi Sungguhan (1951)
  • Dunia Gila (1951)
  • Sepandjang Malioboro (1951)
  • Apa Salahku (1952)
  • Pahit-Pahit Manis (1952)
  • Pengorbanan (1952)
  • Terkabul (1952)
  • Satria Desa (1952)
  • Si Mientje (1952)
  • Ajah Kikir (1953)
  • Asam Digunung Garam Dilaut (1953)
  • Gara-gara Hadiah (1953)
  • Putri Solo (1953)
  • Lagu Kenangan (1953)
  • Dewi dan Pemilihan Umum (1954)
  • Antara Tugas dan Tjinta (1954)
  • Kasih Sajang (1954)
  • Klenting Kuning (1954)
  • Konde Tjioda (1954)
  • Lewat Djam Malam (1954)
  • Perkasa Alam (1954)
  • Putri dari Medan (1954)
  • Sedarah Sedaging (1954)
  • Senjum Derita (1955)
  • Sampah (1955)
  • Saidjah Putri Pantai (1956)
  • Djandjiku (1956)


  • Putri dari Medan (1954)
  • Mertua Sinting (1954)
  • Tengah Malam (1955)
  • Putri Solo Kembali (1956)
  • Sampah (1956)
  • Saidjah Putri Pantai (1956)


  1. 1 2 3 Sumarni's year of birth is uncertain, as various sources claim 1927, [1] 1928, 1930, [2] 1932, [3] and 1935.

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  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Okezone 2022.
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  10. Wisjnu 1955, pp. 23–24.
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  12. 1 2 3 Fadillah 2015.
  13. Liberal 1957, p. 200.
  14. 1 2 Aryono 2018.
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  17. 1 2 3 4 Apa Siapa 1999, p. 437.
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  19. 1 2 Wisjnu 1955, p. 25.
  20. 1 2 Film Varia, Faktor, p. 11.
  21. Wisjnu 1955, pp. 30–31.
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  23. 1 2 Wisjnu 1955, p. 66.
  24. filmindonesia.or.id, Titien Sumarni.

Works cited