Austrian child actress Traudl Stark (1930) was the Shirley Temple of the German language cinema. Between 1935 and 1940 she made a dozen popular films in Austria.
German Postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1276/1, 1937-1938. Photo: Manassée-Ricoll, Wien / Mondial.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1113/2, 1937-1938. Photo: Mondial-Film.
A Girl Called Peter
Traudl Stark was born as Gertraude Marianne Münzel to the secretary Siegfried Stark and Margarete Münzel. Her parents married after her birth. In 1934 little Traudl was discovered by Robert Reich on the Wiener Messe during a film exhibition and he asked her for commercials. She played her first film parts at the age of five in Die Fahrt in die Jugend/The Journey into Childhood (1935, Carl Boese), the film operetta Im weißen Rößl/The White Horse Inn (1935, Carl Lamac), and as the daughter of Fritz Rasp and Olga Tschechowa in the spy drama Lockspitzel Asew/Agent rovocateur Asew (1935, Phil Jutzi). One year leater followed Seine Tochter ist der Peter/His Daughter Is Peter (1936, Heinz Helbig, Willy Schmidt-Gentner) as Karl Ludwig Diehl's daughter, and Manja Valewska (1936, Josef Rovenský) featuring Maria Andergast.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 1177/2, 1937-1938. Photo: Manassé-Ricoll, Vienna/Mondial-Film.
The Berlin film company Siegel-Monopol tried to lure Traudl Stark away from the Mondial studio in Vienna and there was even a court case. The next years she was seen in Liebling der Matrosen/The Darling of The Sailors (1937, Hans Hinrig) with Wolf Albach-Retty, again as Peter in Peter im Schnee/Peter in the Snow (1937, Carl Lamac), as Sissy in Prinzessin Sissy/Princess Sissy (1938, Fritz Thiery) co-starring Paul Hörbiger, and in Mutterliebe/Mother Love (1939, Gustav Ucicky) as Käthe Dorsch's daughter .
Dutch postcard by Ross Verlag. Photo: Manassé-Ricoll.
Because of the start of World War II, Traudl Stark never made an international career. Her last part was in Der Fuchs von Glenarvon/The Fox of Glenarvon (1940, Max W. Kimmich) starring Olga Tschechova. This film represents the sad destiny of many German artists who didn't survive the war. Six of the actors were afflicted: Karl Dannemann (suicide in 1945), Friedrich Kayssler (homicide in 1945), Aribert Mog (killed in action in 1941), Horst Birr (executed in 1944 by the National Socialists), Paul Otto (suicide in 1943), and Hermann Braun (killed in action in 1945). After the war Traudl had become a teenager, who wasn’t interested in film any longer. Between 1945 and 1947 she acted on stage in Vienna. In 1948 she married the American GI Jack Elliot and went with him to his hometown in Alabama, USA. At 18, Traudl Stark retired. Later she remarried and had children, but there's little information to be found on her life as an adult.
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2513/2, 1939-1940. Photo: Tita Binz, Berlin / Tobis.
Big German postcard by Ross Verlag. Photo: Wog.
Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German and English) and IMDb.