Fans break 2 of Marlene Dietrich's ribs in tight hugs

Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich

When does adulation become too much to bear?

For Berlin-born actress Marlene Dietrich, it was on Nov 8, 1965, when she apparently had two of her ribs broken by fans who had hugged her too tightly. She felt a soreness in her chest after being hugged by admirers outside the Theatre Royal in Sydney, Australia, where she was performing.

A chest X-ray the next day showed two fractures. But the show must go on, and so, it did. The injury bothered her only when she laughed, the Associated Press agency reported.

Dietrich started out as a stage actress in Germany in the 1920s but moved to the United States and later became an American citizen. She was against the Nazis and performed for the Allied troops during the Second World War.

Bad luck seemed to dog her in Sydney. Back in the city in 1975 to perform at Her Majesty's Theatre, Dietrich, who was then in her 70s, fell on stage and fractured her thighbone.

The fall ended her stage career. The star of movies like The Blue Angel spent her last years in France where she died at age 90 in 1992.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'Fans break 2 of Marlene Dietrich's ribs in tight hugs'. Print Edition | Subscribe