10 May 2018

Marion Michael

German film actress and singer Marion Michael (1940-2007) was a one hit wonder as Liane, the jungle girl. As the female Tarzan, the blonde beauty became an icon of the German cinema. Her postcards were even more popular in Germany than Maria Schell's cards.

Marion Michael,
German postcard by UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof), no. CK-48. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Arca-Film.

Marion Michael
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/158. Photo: UFA.

Marion Michael
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, Rotterdam, no. 1009. Photo: UFA.

Marion Michael
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-71. Photo: Stempha / Cinepress / Arca Film.

Marion Michael
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. C.D. 16.

Topless Goddess


Marion Michael was born as Marion Ilonka Michaela Delonge in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1940. Her father was a doctor.

The last months of the war she spent together with her mother and her four-year older brother on Hiddensee, a small island in the Baltic Sea.

After the war, the family moved to Berlin and Marion attended the secondary school. Already as a ten-year-old, she made her stage debut in a small theatre and was taught classical dance in the ballet school of Tatjana Gsovsky.

When she was only 15, she was selected out of allegedly 12,000 entries for the lead in Liane, das Mädchen aus dem Urwald/Liane, Jungle Goddess (Eduard von Borsody, 1956). This adventure film was largely shot on location in Africa.

The story is about a girl who is discovered in the African jungle by an expedition group which includes Hardy Krüger. A tribe adores her as a goddess. It turns out that she is Liane, the long lost granddaughter of a rich shipowner in Hamburg.

Her dark hair was dyed blonde and she was promoted as the 'German Brigitte Bardot'. Michael appeared topless during the first half of the film and this was part of the success of the film.  However, she was acceptable for family audiences as the nature child with no obvious erotic suggestiveness.

The film was a huge box office hit, and producer Gero Wecker offered her a seven-year-contract.The press loved her and photographers paid much money to take her picture exclusively. Her postcards were even more popular in Germany than Maria Schell's postcards. As a 18-years-old, she owned a sports car.

Unfortunately this success of her debut film would not be matched by any of her later films.

Marion Michael in Liane, das Mädchen aus dem Urwald (1956)
German promotion card. Photo: Arca Film / NF. Publicity still for Liane, das Mädchen aus dem Urwald/Liane, Jungle Goddess (Eduard von Borsody, 1956).

Marion Michael,
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf, no. 116.

Marion Michael,
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2787.

Marion Michael
German postcard, no. 542. Photo: Arca.

Marion Michael
German postcard.

Marion Michael
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3865. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Stempka-Cinepress / Arca.

Car Accident


Marion Michael played next in the comedy Der tolle Bomberg/The Mad Bomberg (Rolf Thiele, 1957) opposite Hans Albers. The film is an adaptation of the 1923 novel of the same title by Josef Winckler which was based on a real historical Westphalian aristocrat of the nineteenth century.

Then followed the sequel Liane, die weiße Sklavin/Jungle Girl and the Slaver (Hermann Leitner, 1957), now opposite Adrian Hoven. Set in North Africa, this story concerns Arab slave traders who abduct Liane and members of her tribe. Later, the two Liane films were edited together and re-marketed as Liane – die Tochter des Dschungels/Liane - The Daughter of the Jungle.

In order to break away from the Liane image, Marion Michael took dance and acting lessons and then played successfully opposite Christian Wolff in melodrama Es war die erste Liebe/First Love (Fritz Stapenhorst, 1958) in which a Catholic theology student falls in love with a country girl.

During the shooting of the crime film Bomben auf Monte Carlo/Bombs on Monte Carlo (Georg Jacoby, 1960) with Eddie Constantine, she had a car accident that left her face temporarily scarred.

She recovered and returned to acting in Schlußakkord/Festival (Wolfgang Liebeneiner, 1960), the Schlagerfilm Davon träumen alle Mädchen/That's What All The Girls Dream About (Thomas Engel, 1961), and Jack und Jenny/Jack and Jenny (Victor Vicas, 1963) with Senta Berger and Ivan Desny.

Marion Michael
French postcard. Michael on promotion tour in Paris.

Marion Michael
German autograph card.

Marion Michael,
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. V 122. Photo: Dieter-Eberhard Schmidt, Berlin.

Marion Michael
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 3536/159. Sent by mail in 1959. Photo: Stempka Cinepress / Arca Film / UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof).

Marion Michael,
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 285. Offered by Honig, Gent, Belgium. Photo: Archiv Filmpress Zürich.

Marion Michael
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), no. FK 3762. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Haenchen / Arca-NF.

Unusual step


The following decade, Marion Michael mainly worked for theatre and TV. For six years she worked at the Städtischen Bühnen Köln. In 1970, she  got a son, Benjamin, from an American director, lived in a commune and did some street theatre.

Michael suffered a severe depression after a short marriage to actor Marcel Werner ended, and retired from acting in 1976. For a while she worked as a saleswoman.

In 1979 she took the unusual step of moving from West to East Germany, where she worked as a synchronisation assistant for TV.

Only occasionally she acted in TV-films such as In Hassliebe Lola/In Hate love Lola (Lothar Lambert, 1995) and Blond bis aufs Blut/Blonde Till Blood (Lothar Lambert, 1997).

In 1996 her life became the topic of a TV musical, Liane (Horst Königstein, 1996). She played a small role in the production. The film was nominated for the Adolf Grimme award and the Prix Europa 1997.

In her later years, she remained a well known German film icon. With her second husband, Freimut Patzner, she lived in an old house in Oderbruch.

In 2007 Marion Michael died of heart failure in a hospital in Gartz an der Oder. It was four days before her 67th birthday.

Marion Michael, Christian Wolff
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (licency holders for UFA postcards in the Netherlands), no. 4267. Photo: ARCA / Cinepress. Publcity still for Es war die erste Liebe/First Love (Fritz Stapenhorst, 1958) with Christian Wolff.

Marion Michael and Christian Wolff in Es war die erste Liebe (1958)
Dutch postcard. no. 85. Photo: publicity still for Es war die erste Liebe/It was first love (Fritz Stapenhorst, Veit Harlan, 1958).

Marion Michael
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. V 111. Photo: Krippendorff, Berlin.

Marion Michael
German postcard by UFA, Berlin, no. CK 72. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Stempka / Arca Film.

Marion Michael
German postcard by UFA (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof), no. CK-40. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Eberhardt Schmidt / UFA / Arca-Film.


Jungle Dance from Liane, das Mädchen aus dem Urwald/Liane, Jungle Goddess (1956). Source: MollyWhippie (YouTube).

Sources: Christian Koehl (Variety), Filmportal.de (German), Stephanie D'Heil (Steffi-line.de - German), Wikipedia and IMDb.

4 comments:

ANTONIO NAHUD JÚNIOR said...

Beautiful!

O Falcão Maltês

Bunched Undies said...

What a beauty. I'd never heard of her before. Thanks Bob

Anonymous said...

belissima!loirinha perfeita!gostei muito do blog!parabéns pelo excelente blog!!Marcos Punch.

Paul van Yperen said...

Grazie mille!!!