Het is vandaag al dertig jaar geleden dat Anny Ondra, “het eerste Hitchcock-blondje”, is overleden…

Anny Ondra was born Anna Sophie Ondráková in Tarnów, Austria–Hungary, now Poland. Ondra spent her childhood in Tarnów and Prague. 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). When her family learned of it, they had a shouting match in which the teenager got a beating from her father. Anna was a graduate of the convent school and her father had for her a place government official. Anna decided otherwise and began to live with Karel Lamač.
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She acted in Czech, Austrian and German comedies in the 1920s (hierboven een gewaagde scène uit een Tsjechische komedie). Later she was seen in some British dramas, most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Manxman” and “Blackmail”, both from 1929 (bovenstaande foto). However, when “Blackmail” was remade with sound, Ondra’s thick accent was considered unacceptable, so her dialogue was recorded by actress Joan Barry.
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 Hamburg. Schmeling maakte furore door onder andere de onoverwinnelijk geachte Amerikaan Joe Louis te verslaan op 19 juni 1936. Later zou hij alsnog door Louis worden verslagen tijdens een beladen gevecht op 22 juni 1938, waardoor hij ten onrechte als een vertegenwoordiger van het naziregime wordt gezien. Het tegendeel was eigenlijk waar, ook al durfde Schmeling geen neen te zeggen when the fascists were trying to exploit their fame and popularity. Often were seen their photos with Goebbels and Hitler – Max as a German superman and Anny as such a blond Aryan. Toen bleek dat ze dat niet was, drongen de nazi’s erop aan dat hij van haar zou scheiden. De aanhoudende weigering van Schmeling om zich te lenen voor het nazi-apparaat bleef niet zonder gevolgen. In 1940 werd hij onder de wapens geroepen van de Wehrmacht. Op 21 mei 1941 raakte hij zwaargewond bij een aanval op het door de Britten bezette Kreta. In 1943 werd hij vanwege zijn verwondingen uit dienst ontslagen. But they never collaborated 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.Vanwege de daaruit voortvloeiende financiële problemen ging Schmeling in 1947, acht jaar nadat hij voor het laatst voet in de ring had gezet, weer boksen. In 1949 they moved to Hollenstedt near Hamburg. Later Max Schmeling begun working for The Coca-Cola Company.
Ondra was buried in the Saint Andreas Friedhof cemetery in Hollenstedt. Her husband Max Schmeling died in 2005 and was buried next to her.
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). Ondra made nearly a hundred films, the last in 1957. [Wikipedia]

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