Anny Ondra

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Anny Ondra
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14813, Brautpaar Max Schmeling und Anny Ondra.jpg
Wedding of Max Schmeling and Anny Ondra (1933)
Born Anna Sophie Ondráková
(1903-05-15)15 May 1903
Tarnów, Galicia, Austria–Hungary (now Poland)
Died 28 February 1987(1987-02-28) (aged 83)
Hollenstedt, Germany
Nationality Czech
Years active 1919–1951
Spouse(s) Max Schmeling (1933–1987)

Anny Ondra (15 May 1903 – 28 February 1987) was a Czech film actress whose husband was German boxing great Max Schmeling. She was born Anna Sophie Ondráková in Tarnów, Galicia, Austria–Hungary, now Poland, and died in Hollenstedt near Harburg, Germany.


The daughter of a Czech, Austro-Hungarian officer, Ondra spent her childhood in Tarnów, Pula and Prague. Her father's name was Bohumír and mother's name Anna. She had two brothers, Tomáš (Tomas) and Jindřich (Henry). At seventeen she played in the theater and was acting in her first film. The film was directed by her boyfriend, director Karel Lamač (Karell Lamatch).[1] When her family learned of it, they had a shouting match in which the teenager got a beating from her father - to be an actress, after the First World War, was socially almost at the level of a beggar. Anne was a graduate of the convent school and her father had for her a place government official. Anna decided otherwise, for a film career and began to live with Karel Lamač."I swim like a fish, ride a cowboy, and I would do it all in the film applied," summarized the nineteen-year-old lady of her education. After some years, she wanted to start a family, but Lamač did not want to marry. So, after a three year romance, on 6 July 1933 Ondra married German boxer Max Schmeling, with whom she appeared in the film Knock-out (1935). Their marriage was a happy one, although childless. Ondra miscarried after a car accident in 1936 and could no longer have children. They were married until her death in 1987. Lamac remained her friend for a lifetime. He died in her arms in 1952 in Hambburk. German fascists were trying throughout their marriage to exploit their fame and popularity. Often were seen their photos with Goebbels and Hitler - Max as a German superman and Anny such blond Aryan (Max was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932). But they never collaborated. Brave Max refused to accept honors and even secretly helped to hide two Jewish children, saving their lives. In Nazi Germany it was a capital offense. Yet after the war, they got a big financial penalty for collaboration, and in the Czech Republic they issued an arrest warrant. That was the reason why he never visited the homeland. The Nazi propaganda won. After the war they were left without funds and assets. In 1949 they moved to Hollenstedt near Hamburg and her husband started their business on their land. Later Max Schmeling begun working for The Coca-Cola Company. Ondra was buried in the Saint Andreas Friedhof cemetery in Hollenstedt, Germany. Her husband Max Schmeling died in 2005 and was buried next to her.[2] The heritage of Anny and Max has been referred to Max-Schmeling-Stiftung foundation.

Film career

She acted in Czech, Austrian, and German comedies in the 1920s; and in some British dramas, most notably Alfred Hitchcock's The Manxman and Blackmail (both 1929). Ondra formed a production company, Ondra-Lamac-Films, with her boyfriend, director Karel Lamač.[3] Lamac directed her in several silent films, acted with her in films directed by other filmmakers, and continued to work together after her marriage with Max.[4] However, when Blackmail was remade with sound, Ondra's thick accent was considered unacceptable, so her dialogue was recorded by actress Joan Barry. Ondra made some 40 more films in the sound era, the last in 1957.Total were counted over 90 film figures.

Ondra's career in the UK was hurt by the introduction of talking pictures. She returned to Germany and retired from films after making a few additional movies and marrying boxer Max Schmeling in 1933. However, an amusing test film has survived of Hitchcock "interviewing" Ondra, in which the director teases the actress and asks her some personal questions.

Ondra was portrayed by Britt Ekland in the television movie Ring of Passion (1978), wherein the character was named "Amy Ondra Schmeling". She was also portrayed by Peta Wilson in the historical boxing docudrama Joe and Max. (2002).[5]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1920 Gilly zum ersten Mal in Prag (Gilly poprvé v Praze)
1920 Lady with the Small Foot
1922 Look After Your Daughters
1922 Zigeunerliebe
1922 Führe uns nicht in Versuchung
1926 Trude, die Sechzehnjährige
1926 Die Pratermizzi
1926 Never the Twain
1928 Evas Töchter - Das Paradies von heute
1928 Der erste Kuß
1929 Der Mann von der Insel Man (The Manxman) Kate Cregeen
1929 Blackmail Alice White
1929 Glorious Youth Eileen
1929 The Girl with the Whip Anny Nebenkrug
1929 Sündig und süß
1930 The Caviar Princess
1930 The Great Longing
1930 Fairground People Anny Flock
1930 Eine Freundin, so goldig wie Du
1932 Kiki
1932 Mamsell Nitouche Mamsell Nitouche
1933 Fräulein Hoffmanns Erzählungen
1933 The Love Hotel
1934 Polish Blood Helena Zaremba together with Hans Moser and Iván Petrovich
1934 Little Dorrit
1935 Knockout Marianne Plümke together with her husband Max Schmeling
1935 Großreinemachen
1935 The Young Count
1936 Donogoo Tonka Josette
1936 Flitterwochen
1937 Cause for Divorce Anny
1937 Vor Liebe wird gewarnt
1937 Der Unwiderstehliche Claudette Renier together with Hans Söhnker
1938 Narren im Schnee
1941 The Gasman Erika Knittel together with Heinz Rühmann
1942 Himmel, wir erben ein Schloß
1943 Heaven, We Inherit a Castle
1951 You Have to be Beautiful
1957 The Zurich Engagement



  1. Canning, Mike (December 2008). "At The Movies: Holiday Season Brings a New Spate of Dramas". Hill Rag. 
  2. "Boxing legend Max Schmeling dies at 99". USA Today. Berlin: The Associated Press. February 4, 2005. 
  3. Canning, Mike (December 2008). "At The Movies: Holiday Season Brings a New Spate of Dramas". Hill Rag. 
  4. "Funny Ladies 1". La Cineteca del Friuli. 2002. 
  5. Anny Ondra at the Internet Movie Database

External links