Dearest Pola Negri died 28 years ago today. I write this with all my being: she lived one hell of a life. It was a hard life involving wars, tragedy, loneliness and poverty.
I never knew her, of course. She died way before I was born. We are 101 years apart. I miss her sometimes and I think about her life and I feel rather sad.
On the last hours of her life a lad came to check on her…as she was dying from the brain tumor she refused to have treated (like her mother who refused to treat her cancer) and the boy just checked on her and didn’t…appear amazed. Pola, blind from one of her eyes, got in her silent movie star pose and said, “YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM???”
Earlier on that year she was planning to go on vacation to L.A, I think. I’m sure she reflected a lot about her life then. She was ninety years old. She lost the greatest love she ever had 61 years before. Her best friend. Her mother. She became incredibly famous for being the first…..actress to act so incredibly seductive on the screen without feeling ashamed. She gave encouragement to women. She lived a life she never regretted and would bother to live again.
In Poland she started out as a ballerina who had won a scholarship for her talent. Then she contracted tuberculosis and could do it no more. In the sanitarium she found a book of poetess Ada Negri and was so touched with her words (i think she was in tears) and read them aloud to those who were sick.
She could’ve given up. I mean, she and her mother were terribly poor. Her father was away in prison in Siberia. But she didn’t. People noticed her inborn talent and casted her plays….and then to films…..as she became one of Poland’s well-known stars in the 1910s.
Max Reindhart met her and she from then on became a huge movie star in Germany and changed its film history forever.
America was her best friend for a while, regarding success and fortune, but soon the evil crept in with rumors….But she was happy she got the fame she received. After all, she was possibly the finest face in silent cinema.
Pola was a loner surely. As a child she was too involved dreaming and even acted sort of better than her peers because she knew she would be something. Even as an adult she was lonely. With the fame and all that she never had really TRUE friends.
She was a highly emotional woman, which made people think she was just being histrionic. Pola had dealt a lot. A lot. She dealt with the hells of WWI, Nazis, dead career and now I understand why she often got depressed.
Pola changed my life forever, in a good way. I don’t think I’ve ever idolized a person so much as her. You know, Pola makes me want to experience life, as much as I don’t want to sometimes. She is so alive to me in her memoirs and I feel she were telling her story to me.
I am not mourning in any way…..I am celebrating the day that she had to leave earth. She never really left though. She’s as alive as she ever was. I am right here writing about her having just woken up.
She was buried in a golden turban and buried at Calvary’s Cemetery in Los Angeles, right next her mother. Soon I will visit her and leave her roses.
I shall watch one of her films today surely and it shall be Mazurka. Maybe there will be more.
At the end of her memoirs she was glad to have lived such a life. It was right to have put it in a book.
You are missed, Pola!