The most talented and beautiful woman ever to grace the silver screen turns 102 today. Happy birthday, Luise Rainer. Miss Rainer was awarded the Academy Awards for Best Actress in 1936 for “The Great Ziegfeld” and in 1937 for “The Good Earth”. Aside from her work in film, I also thank Miss Rainer for introducing me formally to the works of Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was the basis for Miss Rainer’s second Oscar.
I check YouTube for any new clips that feature Luise Rainer, and I was delighted to come across this one. Watch the different takes as Miss Rainer is presented her first Academy Award 75 years ago:
After I wrote to Miss Rainer in celebration of her centenary, I received four autographed photos. One of the photos I sent to her to sign shows her two Academy Awards in her home:
Luise Rainer is a legend of the silver screen. She only appeared in about a dozen films yet her work is so memorable on account of her sweet and delicate beauty, her expression, timing and graceful presence before the camera. She is the only living Academy Award winner from the earliest days of the institution–from the ninth and tenth annual Awards–and currently lives in London.
I sent her a birthday card again this year, written both in English and her native German. There have been a number of occasions where I have met celebrated actors, authors and musicians, and told them how much their work has affected me and in many cases changed my life. I am happy and ever so thankful to have had the opportunity to tell this to Miss Rainer in a letter. May I wish her now a gloriously happy and healthy 102nd birthday.
For the past two years I have posted this YouTube clip (it is not my own clip) showing a slideshow of beautiful photos of Miss Rainer. One the occasion of her 102nd birthday I will post it again. The music and images bring a tear to my eye as I see each picture. No cliché, I get misty-eyed as the music plays in the background. The movies have never seen a more beautiful woman.