10 October 2014

Valerie Boothby

German actress Valerie Boothby (1904-1982) was a popular star of the Weimar cinema in the late 1920s and early 1930s. She often played flappers and femme fatales.

Valerie Boothby
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5272/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Lotte Jacobi.

Heydays of the Silent Cinema

Valerie – or Valery - Boothby was born as Wally Drucker in Hamburg, Germany in 1904 (some sources say 1906). She was the daughter of the Hamburg theater director Ernst Drucker.

She entered the film business in 1925 during the heydays of the German silent cinema. Her film debut was Der krasse Fuchs/The Glaring Fox (Conrad Wiene, 1925).

In the next years she made many other silent films and her popularity increased quickly. Among her films were Die Frau mit dem Weltrekord/The Woman with the World Record (Erich Waschneck, 1927), Das letzte Souper/Theatre (Mario Bonnard, 1928) starring Marcella Albani, and Angst - Die schwache Stunde einer Frau/Fear (Hans Steinhoff, 1928) in which she co-starred with Gustav Fröhlich and Elga Brink.

She embodied popular types at the time as the flapper or the femme fatale.

Valerie Boothby
Austrian postcard by Iris-Verlag, no. 5684. Photo: Verleih Engel & Walter / Defina / Defu.

Portrait Painter and Author

From 1929 on, Valerie Boothby played on the Berlin stages under Victor Barnowsky and Fritz Rotter.

She continued to appear in such silent films as Der Monte Christo von Prag/The Monte Christo of Prague (Hans Otto, 1929) with Walter Rilla, Frauen am Abgrund/Women on the Edge (Georg Jacoby, 1929) opposite Gustav Diessl, and Mädchen am Kreuz/Girls on a Cross (Jacob & Luise Fleck, 1929).

During the early sound period Boothby made her last films, including In einer kleinen Konditorei/In a Little Confectionery (Robert Wohlmuth, 1930) with French star Jaque Catelain, Er oder ich/He or I (Harry Piel, 1930), and Der Herr Finanzdirektor/Mr. Finance Director (Fritz Friedmann-Frederich, 1931) featuring Max Adalbert.

Her last film was So lang' noch ein Walzer vom Strauß erklingt (Conrad Wiene, 1931) starring Gustav Fröhlich as Johan Strauss Jr.

Then her film career halted. Why is unclear. After the takeover by the Nazis in 1933, she emigrated to France, and she lived for many years in Egypt.

She worked as a portrait painter and was the author of such children's books as Knurr und seine Bande oder Hunde erobern eine Stadt (Knurr and His Dog Gang Conquer a City) (1954) and Der Katzenkapitän (The Captain of the Cats) (1959).

In 1970 she returned to her hometown of Hamburg. Valerie Boothby died at the age of 75 in Hamburg in 1982.

Valerie Boothby
Polish postcard by Polonia, Krakow, no. 847. Photo: Hom Film. Postcard for one of the two Hom productions Boothby played in, either Der Mann, der nicht liebt (Guido Brignone, 1929), starring Gustav Diessl, or Vererbte Triebe (Gustav von Ucicky, 1929), starring Fritz Alberti.

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

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