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Katta Sterna

Foto: Nicola Perscheid (1864-1930)

1897 - 1983


The actress Katta Sterna was born as Katharina Stern in Berlin. She was born into an artistic family, her sisters were also active in the entertainment business and her aunt was the famous artist Käthe Kollwitz. Her sister Regula appeare at the theater with her pseudonym Regula Keller, her sister Johanna became well-known as Johanna Hofer and her sister Marie actedon stage and in front of the camera as Maria Solveg.

But the artistic career was not in the centre in her youth but her difficult puberty which was reflected by her unconcentrated and impusive behaviour. Her parents seeked advice by professor Ziehen for psychiatry at the university Berlin and he misjudged her as incurable and recommended the committal into a sanatorium. But luckily her parents did not comply with this judgment.

When Katharina saw the famous Anna Pawlowa dance she made the decision to become a dancer too. She took lessons by Grete Wiesenthal and briefly afterwards she got first engagements at the German opera house where she adapted the pseudoym Katta Sterna. 

She meht the actor and dancer Ernst Matray in 1913 and they became a couple, professional as well as private. Matray who was married with the actress Greta Schröder at that time separated from his wife.

Katta Sterna made her stage debut as an actress by Max Reinhardt at Ernst Matray's side in "Sommernachtstraum", it followed many other appearances together - often as dancing duo - in the next years.

She already had her first engament in front of the camera in 1914 with "Lumpchens Glück" (14), "Das Sportsmädel" (14), "Teufelchen" (14) and "Die verkaufte Braut" (15).

But her performances for movies kept seldom, she acted among others in the movie "Marionetten" (15), it followed the short film serial "Ticky-Tacky" in 1918/19 and finally "Ein genialer Einfall" (19), "Das Verlobungsfernrohr" (19), "Flimmerherzen" (20), "O du Quetschfalte meines Herzens" (20), "Kameraden" (21) and "Tingel Tangel" (30), her only sound film.

Besides the film business Katta Sterna became a personality of the innovative dancing and filled the public with enthusiasm.

In the 20's came many projects into being with Ernst Matray and her sister Maria Solved, for example "Die grüne Flöte" (25), "Vor dem Spiegel" (25) and "Sommernachtstraum" (28).

When the National Socialists seized power in Germany in 1933, the career of Katta Sterna and her sisters became strongly restricted because they were considered to be "Volljüdinnen".
Katta Sterna could no longer appear in Germany, it followed tours in England and the USA but an emigration failed and she had to return to Germany. 
She retired from the public life of necessity.

A special thanks goes to Mrs. Burcu Dogramaci, who compiled many detailed information in her article "Drei Schwestern - Die Schauspielerinnen Maria Solveg, Katta Sterna und Johanna Hofer".