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21 March 2012

Lee Parry

Lee Parry (1901 - 1977) was a German film star of the silent and the early sound era. She appeared in 48 films between 1919 and 1939, often in films directed or produced by her husband Richard Eichberg. In the early 1930's she sang in Viennese film operettas and made several records.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1781/2, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3106/2, 1928-1929. Photo: Wa-Kie, Berlin.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4646/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Balázs, Berlin.

Dr. Caligari, the Golem and Dracula
Lee Parry was born Mathilde Benz in 1901 in Munich, Germany. She was the daughter of an opera tenor, actor and variety director. When she was sixteen, she moved to Berlin. There she was discovered by director and producer Richard Eichberg. She made her debut in 1919 in the leading role of Sünden der Eltern/Sins of the Parents (1919, Richard Eichberg). Later Eichberg would become her husband. The following years she starred under his direction in several films for his studio like Nonne und Tänzerin/Nun and Dancer (1919), Hypnose/Hypnosis (1920), and two-parters like Der Tanz auf dem Vulkan/Dance on the Volcano (1920), and Die Fluch der Menschheit/The Curse of Man (1920). In these films she often appeared opposite Violetta Napierska, Robert Scholz and a young Béla Lugosi. These three actors were again her co-stars in Ihre Hoheit die Tänzerin/Her Highness the Dancer (1922, Richard Eichberg). In the historical epic Monna Vanna (1922, Richard Eichberg), based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, her co-star was Paul Wegener, the legendary star of Der Golem/The Golem (1920, Carl Boese, Paul Wegener). Werner Krauss, famous for his role as Dr. Caligari, was her partner in Fräulein Raffke/Miss Raffke (1923, Richard Eichberg).

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 458/4, 1919-1924. Photo: Alex Binder.

Lee Parry
French postcard by Cinémagazine Edition, Paris, no. 193.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1083/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder.

Divorce
Lee Parry continued working with Richard Eichberg in hits like Die Motorbraut/The Motor Bride (1925, Richard Eichberg) and Luxusweibchen/Luxury Wife (1925, Erich Schönfelder) with Hans Albers. Around that time Parry and Eichberg divorced. The following year Lee worked for another studio, Maxim-Film/Ebner and starred in Fedora (1926, Jean Manoussi) next to Anita Dorris. For this studio she also featured in Wenn das Herz der Jugend spricht/When the heart of Youth Speaks (1926, Fred Sauer) opposite Albert Bassermann, Die Frau die nicht nein sagen kann/The Woman Who Can't say No (1927, Fred Sauer) with Hans Albers, and the comedy Die leichte Isabell/Light Isabell (1927, Eddy Busch, Arthur Wellin) with Gustav Fröhlich. In France she appeared in L'eau du Nil/The water of the Nile (1928, Marcel Vandal), but at the end of the 1920’s her roles became smaller and less frequent.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 458/1, 1919-1924 (at the backside of the card is hand written: 1920). Photo: Alex Binder.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 677/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Gärtner, Berlin / Eichberg-Film.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3616/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1634/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Maxim Film/Bruckmann.

Viennese operettas
After a hiatus of two years Lee Parry made her first appearance in a sound film in Die lustigen Weiber von Wien/The Merry Wives of Vienna (1931, Géza von Bolváry) opposite Willi Forst. The following year she featured again in three films: the marital-mix-up farce Ein bißchen Liebe für Dich/A Bit of Love (1932, Max Neufeld) as the wife of Hermann Thimig, the operetta Johann Strauss, k. u. k. Hofkapellmeister/Viennese Waltz (1932, Conrad Wiene), and another operetta Liebe auf den ersten Ton/Love at First Sight (1932, Carl Froelich). In 1933 she starred again in three films, Keinen Tag ohne Dich/No Day Without You (1933, Hans Behrendt), Der große Bluff/The Big Bluff (1933, Georg Jacoby) and Die Herren vom Maxim/The Gentlemen from Maxim's (1933, Carl Boese). But after this successful year she would make only two more pictures. After the comedy Das Einmaleins der Liebe/Love's Arithmetic (1935, Carl Hoffmann) starring Luise Ullrich and Paul Hörbiger she retired. Shortly before WWII she appeared in the French production Adieu Vienne/Farewell Vienna (1939, Jacques Séverac) with Gustav Fröhlich. It would be her last film. She was also a well-known singer who made many records. Her second marriage was to Siegmund Breslauer, director of the German theater in Buenos Aires, in 1956, She moved to South-America where she made her theater comeback as Manon and performed there on many stages. Lee Parry died in Bad Tölz, Germany, in 1977.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5674/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Zander & Labisch, Berlin.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4037/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Badelkow, Berlin.

Lee Parry
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 6784/1, 1931-1932. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Lee Parry
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 425. Photo: Filma.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia, AllMovie, and IMDb.

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