Marlene Dietrich believed her pussy was magic.
It’s not something most historians will say so explicitly. But the Berlin-born movie star felt her sexual appeal was so great she could save the world with it. All she’d have to do would be seduce a moony monarch and bed a genocidal tyrant.
Dietrich rose to stardom in 1930 in Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel, then followed that up with her iconic turn in his Blonde Venus, where she memorably shed a gorilla suit in a way so sultry that it still inspires.
By the mid-to-late 1930s, she was living it up in Hollywood with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. on her arm. One night, while the lovers were canoodling, Fairbanks shared a bit of gossip about how King Edward VIII was considering giving up his throne so he might marry an American divorcee named Wallis Simpson. Deitrich was mortified by the news, feeling this would be a romantic mistake that could endanger the United Kingdom as a whole. So, she considered a plan that essentially boiled down to bedding the King to teach him there are plenty of totally awesome fish in the sea.
Fairbanks was flustered that she was speaking so openly about banging someone else. To which she replied, “Oh darling, don’t be so old-fashioned. We’re doing it for England, which we both love. Some sacrifices must be made.”
Her plan never came to fruition. So we’ll never know if Dietrich’s bedroom bravado could have prevented the king’s abdication. But the German glamor goddess wasn’t through yet.
As Hitler rose to power, Dietrich was mortified. She loathed the Nazis for all the terror and carnage they’d brought to her homeland. She’d personally financed the escape of several of her friends back home when the Nazis began arresting Jews. But according to the Charlotte Chandler-penned biography Marlene, Dietrich was willing to set her personal disgust for Adolf Hitler aside temporarily if it meant a chance to murder him. After all, she was his favorite actress. It wouldn’t be difficult to arrange a private meeting. But Dietrich was no fool. She knew that she’d be exhaustively searched, possibly stripped bare before she’d be allowed in a room with this loathed world leader. So how to hide a weapon while starkers? Perhaps a poisoned hairpin?
Once more to Fairbanks chagrin, Dietrich pondered a plan whereby her pussy would save the world. Ironic, considering J. Edgar Hoover had her under surveillance fearful she was a secret Nazi sympathizer and possible spy. But all that his snooping turned up was that Dietrich had a very active sex life with a variety of partners from both sexes. By 1944, she did turn spy for the U.S., seeking intelligence as she did USO tours abroad. But her Hitler honeypot plan never panned out.
Fairbanks, who she split from in 1938, later speculated it was not because Dietrich didn’t have the guts to go through with it, but more she never managed to settle on a full-proof assassination strategy. She had told Fairbanks:
“I would not expect to escape. I would go there prepared to die. I don’t want to die. I want to live. Life is wonderful. But to kill Hitler would be wonderful. We all have to die sometime, and that would be something to die for.”
Imagine for a moment how different the world would be if Dietrich had gotten her way, and her pussy proved just as powerful as she hoped. She’d have cut Hitler down before World War II had even begun, saving millions. Bonus: we’d never have been subjected to the British Oscar bait that was The King’s Speech.
Kristy Puchko wants a Inglorious Basterds-like movie of this.