Paula Wessely

Paula Wessely

Paula Wessely (January 20, 1907 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, now Austria - May 11, 2000 in Vienna, Austria) was an Austrian actress.

"The Wessely", as she was affectionately called by her admirers and fans, was Austria's foremost popular postwar actress.

Born in Vienna in January 1907, she made her debut as an actress in 1924 in the Volkstheater Wien and in the years after several roles in theatres followed.

Her first major role in a film was that of the Leopoldine Dur in the film "Masquerade" in 1934. 1938 she was the speaking voice of Snow White in Disney's "Snow White and the seven Dwarfs" in the first German dubbing (made in Austria). Unfortunatelly this version was never shown and published anymore.

In the following year, Wessely married the Austrian actor Attila Hörbiger (1896-1987), with whom she had three daughters: Elisabeth Orth (b.1936), Christiane Hörbiger (b.1938) and Maresa Hörbiger (b.1945).

All three daughters would go on to become popular actresses in Austrian cinema, with Christiane Hörbiger becoming one of the most popular German and Austrian actresses.

Paula Wessely's most famous film was the anti-Polish propaganda film "Heimkehr" ("Homecoming") in 1941, for which she was criticized later by intellectuals in Austria.

After the end of World War II, she worked as a mainly theatre actress at the Vienna Burgtheater for over 40 years until her retirement in 1987.

Her husband died in April 1987, aged 91 of a stroke. Paula Wessely, the then of the Vienna Burgtheater, thereafter retired at the age of 80.

In her last years she lived a very secluded life in her hometown Vienna and suffered from major depression, caused by the death of her beloved husband. They were married for at least 52 years.

Even at the age of 92, Paula Wessely walked through the grounds of Vienna.

On January 20, 2000, she celebrated her 93rd birthday quietly, only with her three daughters and grandchildren at her home in Vienna, Austria.

In April 2000, "the Wessely" suffered from an acute bronchitis and was admitted to a hospital in Vienna. She died on May 11, 2000 at the venerable age of 93, "peacefully in her sleep" in a hospital in Vienna, the Vienna Burgtheater announced the following day. She was buried two weeks later in Vienna.

Paula Wessely was the last of a group of most popular Austrian actors and actresses of the 20th century.

Josephine Wessely

Josephine Wessely(18 March, 1860 - 12 August, 1887) was a famous theatre actress and Paula Wessely's aunt. But many people tought or still think they would have been sisters, despite the fact that there was an age difference of about 47 years. Josephine died young at the age of 27 from Leukemia and had never known her niece. But though her career was short it was strong enough so that was a great idol for Paula Wessely and also for other stageactors.

Today Josephine Wessely is almost forgotten.

External links

*imdb name|id=0921839|name=Paula Wessely
* [ Photographs and bibliography]

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