German and American film actressDied when: 104 years 352 days (1259 months)
Star Sign: Capricorn
Luise Rainer (, German: [ˈʁaɪ̯nɐ]; 12 January 1910 – 30 December 2014) was a German-American-British film actress.She was the first thespian to win multiple Academy Awards and the first to win back-to-back; at the time of her death, thirteen days shy of her 105th birthday, she was the longest-lived Oscar recipient, a superlative that has not been exceeded as of 2021.
Rainer started her acting career in Germany at age 16, under the tutelage of Austria's leading stage director, Max Reinhardt.Within a few years, she had become a distinguished Berlin stage actress with Reinhardt's Vienna theater ensemble.
Critics highly praised the quality of her acting.After years of acting on stage and in films in Austria and Germany, she was discovered by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scouts, who signed her to a three-year contract in Hollywood in 1935.
A number of filmmakers predicted she might become another Greta Garbo, MGM's leading female star at the time.Her first American film role was in Escapade in 1935.
The following year she was given a supporting part in the musical biography The Great Ziegfeld, where, despite limited appearances, her emotion-filled performance so impressed audiences that she was awarded the Oscar for Best Actress.
She was later dubbed the "Viennese teardrop" for her dramatic telephone scene in the film.For her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced, despite the studio's disagreement, that she would also be able to play the part of a poor, plain Chinese farm wife in The Good Earth (1937), based on Pearl Buck's novel about hardship in China.
The subdued character role was such a dramatic contrast to her previous vivacious character that she again won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Rainer and Jodie Foster are the only actresses ever to win two Oscars before the age of 30.However, she later stated nothing worse could have happened to her than winning two consecutive Oscars, as audience expectations from then on would be too high to fulfill.
After a string of insignificant roles, MGM and Rainer became disappointed, leading her to end her brief three-year film career, soon returning to Europe.
Adding to her rapid decline, some feel, was the poor career advice she received from her then-husband, playwright Clifford Odets, along with the unexpected death at age 37 of her producer, Irving Thalberg, whom she greatly admired.
Some film historians consider her the "most extreme case of an Oscar victim in Hollywood mythology".