Gold, Käthe


Gold, Käthe
(1902-1997)
   Actress. Gold was a child star in several theater productions before she left her native Vienna in 1926 for her first adult engagement, in Bern. She had a remarkable ability to play young women with mature sensibilities, or older character types while retaining a juvenile insouciance. After Bern she worked in Breslau and Munich, arriving in Berlin in 1932. Two years later Gustaf Gründgens made Gold a permanent member of his ensemble at the State Theater, where she played significant roles in some of the most celebrated productions of the Third Reich; they included Ophelia in Hamlet, Gretchen in Faust, Nora in A Doll's House, and Pippa in UndPippa tanzt! (AndPippa Dances!).
   Gold was the subject of a rare dispute between a fan club and the Propaganda Ministry during the Nazi dictatorship. She had greatly impressed Richard Billinger, who had written the play Rauhnacht (The Twelfth Night), in which Gold had performed in 1932; Billinger won the Kleist Prize for the play that year, and he later wrote the role of Anna in Der Gigant (The Giant) for her in 1937. Anna was a farmer's daughter who abandoned the simple life of her country village to experience the excitement of living in the "golden city" of Prague. Gold's many fans in Berlin were outraged when Swedish actress Kristina Söderbaum (1912-2001) was selected to play Anna in the 1942 film version (titled Die Goldene Stadt The Golden City); several wrote the Propaganda Ministry vociferous letters of protest. However, since Söderbaum was married to the film's director, Veit Harlan (1899-1964), the protests had little effect.
   After World War II, Gold returned to Vienna, where she became a leading member of the Burgtheater company and one of the very few actresses anywhere to play both Laura Wingfield in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie and Blanche Dubois in his A Streetcar Named Desire during the same season (1948).

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

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