Josef von Sternberg

Josef von Sternberg
Los Angeles Times


Josef von Sternberg
Film: North side of the 6400 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Jonas Sternberg on May 29, 1894
Died Dec. 22, 1969 of heart ailment

At the height of his career, Josef von Sternberg, who discovered Marlene Dietrich, was described by critics as the greatest living director.

His greatest fame came from a series of films in which he directed Dietrich in the 1930s, particularly “The Blue Angel.”

Other notable films he made with Dietrich included “Morocco,” “Dishonored,” “Shanghai Express,” “The Blonde Venus,’ “The Scarlet Empress” and “The Devil Is a Woman.” Dietrich is said to have told von Sternberg, “I’m nothing without you.”

The Vienna-born Von Sternberg came to the United States in 1914, became a film patcher for a New York film company and eventually directed his first film, “Salvation Hunters,” in 1924 on the mud flats of San Pedro.

He spent many years in Hollywood making films with MGM, Paramount, Columbia and later through independent releases. His last picture, “Anatahan,” was made in Japan in 1953.

“My work is known everywhere outside Hollywood,” he once said. After his retirement, his films were constantly revived in retrospectives all over the world.

Von Sternberg, who said he was born plain Jo Sternberg, claimed he inherited his more elegant name when a Hollywood picture carried it on the opening credits.

“Jo Sternberg was stretched into a aristocratic Josef von Stenberg without my knowledge and without consulting me,” he said, yet he was to earn considerable distinction in his time.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1930 Best Director Morocco Nomination
    1931 Best Director Shanghai Express Nomination

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