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Eva von Berne


1910 - 2010

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The actress Eva von Berne was born as Genofeva Plentzner von Scharneck in Sarajevo. The headline of her life could be "The woman who died two deaths", but read yourself. 

After the outbreak of World War I the family Pentzner von Scharneck fled to Vienna. There Eva von Berne worked as a dance instructor and model before she was spotted for the film by pure luck.
Thank to a newspaper article which also showed a picture of her she was spotted by actress Norma Shearer and her husband, produer Irving G. Thalberg during their honeymoon through Europe. 

Irving G. Thalberg engaged the young artist to create a new Greta Garbo for the USA. 

Eva von Berne went to the USA in 1928 although she was not able to speak English. There she got her pseudonym Eva von Berne. 
She was only 18 years old when she arrived in the USA and completely unprepared for the American film business. First she was judged as too plump. She also had problem to handle the star hype of her person - probably one reason she decided few years later to retire from the film business. 
The shooting of her first movie became delayed because of these circumstances and she had to undergo a radical diet. 
Finally she was able to play the role of Virginia in the movie "The Masks of the Devil" (28) at the side of the legendary silent movie star John Gilbert. The movie was directed by Victor Sjöström.

The movie became a great success and Eva von Berne got good critics as well. However the problems at the beginning were still stuck in the head of some responsible persons and they sent her back to Europe, officially justified for learning English.

In Europe she was able to take part in some German movies, among them "Somanmbul" (29) with Fritz Kortner, Erna Morena and Veit Harlan, "Flucht in die Fremdenlegion" (29) with Hans Stüwe and Eugen Burg, "Der Ruf des Nordens" (29) with Luis Trenker and Aribert Mog as well as "Trust der Diebe" (29) with Agnes Esterhazy and Paul Otto.

There were no news from the USA because a PR consultant of MGM made a fatal mistake when he released the information that Eva von Berne died in 1930 at the age of only 20 years because of excessive diet. His news were found on some newspaper articles. It is difficult to reproduce this misinformation in the newspaper, perhaps they mixed the words diet and died and made a wrong conclusion. Because Eva von Berne no longer shot movies in Europe this mistake remained unnoticed for many years and her year of death flew into many publications. For Eva von Berne it was a welcome circumstance because she had already decided at this point to retire from the public life.

Even in the 80s the consultant of MGM said in the magazine "Sight and Sound" that she died in 1930.

In reality Eva von Berne worked as an executive to display windows in Vienna, later she fled to Salzburg after the beginning of World War II where she lived with her family. 
Beside it she was also successful as a sculptor and she had several exhibitions in Austria.

Only many years later the public became aware that Eva von Berne is still alive.

Autographs of Eva von Berne might be rare. She confirmed this in an interview she had with Tony Schieck in 2006: "Ich thing it was fortunate that the world thought that I died. So I had not to deal with autograph hunters".

Eva von Berne died at the age of 100 years in the Hungarian Hedervar in 2010.
 

Other movies with Eva von Berne:
The Masks of the Devil (28) Somnambul (29) Flucht in die Fremdenlegion (29) Der Ruf des Nordens (29) Trust der Diebe (29)


 
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