Luise Rainer, Oldest Living Oscar Winner, Dies at 104


Luise Rainer, a star from Hollywood’s golden age and the first woman to win back-to-back Oscars, has passed away at 104.

That’s according to the Washington Post. The German-born actress won her first Oscar in 1936 for her role as Anna Held in The Great Ziegfeld, perhaps the most glorious parade of slinky, sparkly dresses ever committed to film. (Best watched when caught randomly at 11:30 p.m. on TCM.) This is some amazing tear-jerker shit right here:

“To sustain the emotional core of the scene, she said she recalled a beloved cocker spaniel who was put to death the day before filming,” according to the Post. Like a pro. She picked up her second Oscar the following year, for her role in The Good Earth, playing… a Chinese woman. But things got rocky from there, with the studio sticking her into goofy roles she didn’t particularly like until finally she and Louis B. Mayer had had it with each other:

She complained to Mayer, saying, ” ‘My source is dried out.’ He looked at me and he said, ‘What do you need a source for? Don’t you have a director?’ “
“What could I say?” she told the London Guardian. “He looked at me for a long time, and then he said, ‘You know what? We made you, and we’re going to kill you.’ And I said, ‘No, Mr. Mayer. God made me.’ And I walked out of the studio.”

And that was that. Here are a few photos from her time in Hollywood. People had FACES in those days!

Eat your heart out, Blake Lively—this is what I call maternity style. That baby carriage looks like a lil spaceship:

The woman went mountain climbing until 1989, when her husband died. May we all seem so full of joie de vivre at the century mark:

Images via Getty.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin