Elke Sommer: “The talent that accumulates here from all over the world, is absolutely incredible”

The era when several European actors and actresses became household names in the US, has long been gone, although there are still a few exceptions, such as Juliette Binoche. But if consider Pola Negri (Poland), Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman (Sweden), Marlène Dietrich and Luise Rainer (Germany), Leslie Caron (France), Audrey Hepburn (The Netherlands, although born in Belgium) and Sophia Loren (Italy), those are just af few of the most prominent and enduring continental stars who made it overseas, while later on, let’s say from the 1960s, only few European stars such as Claudia Cardinale joined their ranks in America. Also Elke Sommer, born Elke Schletz in Berlin in 1940, managed to follow in their footsteps.

That’s quite an accomplishment. How did you manage to do that?

You know, I’m a very down to earth country person. I think the fact that so few people made it here in America since those big stars, is because they maybe were trying too hard. I remember talking to Senta Berger, she was very eager to make it here. She wanted to get an agent, a manager,… and I said, ‘Senta, if it is supposed to come, it will come.’ I guess the total honesty, perhaps naivité, in whatever I was doing, in whatever movie I did, helped me a lot. Not once in my whole life have I been bothered by a director, a producer or an executive of a studio in any way or form. I never was a victim of the ‘casting couch’, I never had to turn anybody down, slap anybody’s hands or walk out on anyone. Maybe I still have that kind of naivité, I don’t know. But I do know I still have that enjoyment of work, of life. And I think the Americans like less complicated things: they like honesty, they are open about things, I guess that is why they accepted me.

Planning to become a diplomatic translator for the UN, you were sidetracked into a modeling career, which led to your German movie debut in Georg Tressler’s “Das Totenschiff” (1959). In the following years, you appeared in more than twenty European films in supporting and leading roles opposite actors like Horst Buchholz, Adriano Celentano, Gert Fröbe and Alain Delon. You already had a very interesting career before coming over to America, didn’t you?

Before I went to America, I had worked in Spain, Italy and then in England where I made “The Victors” [opposite her contemporary Romy Schneider] for producer Carl Forman. I never had time to think really, I always worked and I did it as well as I possibly could. Throughout my career, I was always very humble about it to be able and work from the very beginning. Besides doing favors for my English producers, playing a cameo, a baroness or something – because they were my friends – I always worked with total innocence and big, open eyes and ears to learn from everyone, whether it was an electrician, the star or the director, and I never pursued an acting career. I think that makes a fantastic amount of difference: I became a part of this business, without being instrumental of wanting it badly. For my first movie in 1959, I got paid 5.000 Marks and as I had enrolled already at the University, I thought this would pay my entire first year, so I wouldn’t have to work on the side to pay my college. Then the second movie came along and I did as well as I could, that’s for sure, but quite honestly, I did it for the money.

What was life like for you and your family back then in Germany?

We lived in poverty. At one point, I milked ten cows a day for seven days a week for a few Marks, to get some money. Then my father [a Lutheran Minister] passed away when I was 14 and until I started working as an actress, we lived on 70 Marks a month. So I was very fortunate when I started acting.

Which picture brought you to the US?

“Das Mädchen und der Staatsanwalt” [“The Girl and the Prosecutor”, 1962] with Wolfgang Preiss, which was shown in Los Angeles for the Golden Globes. Producer Pandro S. Berman had seen it – he was impressed with her screen persona and was convinced she would be perfect as the Swedish diplomat in “The Prize”. When I first met him, he had like eight or nine Oscars on his mantle piece (laughs). Anyway, somehow he got my number in my house in Germany, and one day he called me. My mother said, ‘Elke, there’s someone from Los Angeles on the phone.’ ‘Los Angeles?!’ So I said, ‘Hello?’ ‘Are you Elke Sommer?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Would you like to star in a picture oposite Paul Newman?’ I said, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’ ‘But is is really you?’ he asked. He was concerned and also wanted to be assured that my English was okay and he asked when I could come over, he would send me the tickets, etc. Once I arrived here, my first encounter with the American way of filming, preparing shots and shooting scenes was quite different from what I was used to in Europe. We had rehearsed “The Prize” like a play. [Director] Mark Robson would make sure the camera would be over there, rehearse our positions, prepare the close-ups, etc. It was completely the opposite of what I had done before: I had just come from Berlin, doing a movie of the week, and we had shot 28 pages a day from 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night. In America things had to be perfect, while I’m not a perfectionist at all, I like little flaws. It’s like having a new car: if it doesn’t have one little bent, that makes me nervous. If it has one little bent and the second one comes, it’s not so bad.”

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Publicity still of Elke Sommer for “The Prize” (1963). Photograph: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Were you welcomed and embraced by the American audience as their new star?

Yes, athough my own ambition was primarily to be a good actress. There were parts out here I would have loved to play, but as the business is mostly run by Jewish people, I did get some unfair reactions. People would say things like, ‘You know, I lost my father in Auschwitz or in Dachau,’ things like that would happen. I tried to get it out of my mind, because I did not feel guilty in any way besides the tremendous collective guilt we have anyhow, being totally 100 percent German born and tracing my family back up until the year 1125. I do know for a fact that my dad was in no way connected with all that and we also suffered tremendously during those years, but still, after many years, you have to pay for it. And believe me, I did pay for it and it broke my heart. The fact that I happened to be German was hindering. It wasn’t an open hostility, I was always easygoing, I get along with everybody, I’m funny and bright, I can talk to people and I have a lot of very good Jewish friends, but in isolated occasions I found that, even though I was perfectly right for a part and would have been able to do a fantastic job, they preferred someone who was not German. This may be the reason why so very few post-war German actors and actresses made it over here since then – except for someone like Jürgen Prochnow, who’s the only one I can think of out the top of my head who has a name over here, not a household name, but a name. That has a lot to do with it, I think. But there’s also another reason why so few Germans made it here in America. The talent that accumulates here in LA from all over the world, is absolutely incredible – they come from Sweden, from Denmark, from Poland, from Russia,… – they know what they’re doing. They have diction lessons, dancing lessons, singing lessons, while in Germany, the talented actors have the talent for acting. But the big misconception in Germany is, that if you’re – let’s say – a comedian, to me the hardest thing to do – the timing! – it didn’t mean that much if you could make people laugh. That’s why I also appeared on the stage, both in drama and comedy, to show them that I was able to act.

What about Curt Jurgens who worked steadily in the US?

Curt Jurgens and also Gert Fröbe were very good at what they were doing, but they were not diversified, because they never learned how to be diversified. You couldn’t put Curt Jurgens in a musical, he was always the actor. When I first came here, I felt totally inadequate. Everybody took lessons, they had lots of hair, they were slim, they had long legs, they had their teeth fixed, they had like sixty-four teeth (laughs) – I always felt they were fysically much superior to me. So one day when I was doing “The Prize”, I was sitting next to Mr. Berman in the commissary where we were having lunch and I saw these beautiful women coming in. I said, ‘Pandro, why did you call me all the way in Germany, when you got all these beautiful women here at the studio?’ And he said, ‘You have to look at the screen: behind you there is an aura. I can’t explain it, but you got it and they haven’t, despite all their beauty, their physical charms and their features.’ That was a very nice thing to say.

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Elke Sommer and Glenn Ford as a married couple whose high standards of living finds them caught in “The Money Trap” (1965). Photograph: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

You then appeared in several films, from the comedy “A Shot in the Dark” [1964, the second film in the Pink Panther series] to Norman Jewison’s comedy satire “The Art of Love” [1965] or “The Money Trap” [1966], with Glenn Ford played a policeman-turned-thief with Elke Sommer as his wife, and Rita Hayworth in a supporting role as an old girlfriend of Ford. It seems you were never typecast.

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‘Hey, Maria Cambrelli!’ Elke Sommer as Miss Cambrelli in “A Shot in the Dark” (1964). Photograph: United Artists

That’s right, but I always adored comedy and lucky for me, “A Shot in the Dark” has become a classic. It has happened frequently that I am on a golf course for example, with the regular crowd on Tuesdays, and from a distance, I hear someone yelling, ‘Hey Maria Gambrelli! How are you!?’ [Maria Gambrelli is the part she played in “A Shot in the Dark”]. It makes me feel very privileged – all of the “Pink Panther” films were very good and I’m very happy that a lot of people say “A Shot in the Dark” is the best, which I think is very true. I once did a series up in Jasper, a little Canadian village in British Columbia, and in a theater they showed “A Shot in the Dark”. The whole cast and crew went to see it, so I had to go too. And I liked it! Peter Sellers had this enormous tragedy which made this genius timing: even though I was very young and inexperienced compared to him, God had given me something to at least holp up with him, and even in some very few miniscule moments even be better. We had our lines to say, we rehearsed, but we also improvised within the scenes. He would say something, or I would start saying something and he would pick up on it. The chemistry was there, and you don’t know if it is luck or something. We weren’t soulmates or anything, we had completely different lives, but we were interested in the same things. He was a very tragic person who had very good friends, he was full of energy and had this wonderful and bright mind, combined with a sense of humor which was so right on – this is what makes you a very good dramatic actor and a comedian as well, which people appreciate all the more. It’s very easy to make you cry, it’s hard to make you laugh – can actors who can make you cry also make you laugh? Unfortunately, many of them can’t, and this is something you cannot learn, but Peter Sellers had it all.

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Elke Sommer and Peter Sellers in “A Shot in the Dark” (1964). Photograph: Marvin Paige Motion Picture and Television Archive

Later on, looking at the roles you played then, you also showed you had progressed as an actress, didn’t you?

You have to progress. I also worked on the stage and about five years ago, I directed a play. There was this actor who hardly looked at me because I am a woman and he didn’t want to be directed by a woman. Through my male assistant, I tried to explain to him that he had no feeling for comedy. He had the most wonderful lines to say, but he wouldn’t move in the lines and he was always very surprised when I got incredible laughs. I told him, ‘The house has to come down when say these lines, but you screw it up because you don’t listen to me.’ And then, I think during the third performance, he did it the way I asked him to.

How do you look back to all the roles you played so far?

I did them without ever being groomed into that part or into that type of character. Everybody always said I was a sex symbol – okay, I posed for Playboy, my ex-husband took the pictures and they are great. But Rita Hayworth or Ava Gardner for example, they were sex symbols, they were icons to me. Or Bette Davis, she didn’t have the most beautiful face, but what an incredible power! She didn’t have to be perfect, she didn’t have to be gorgeous with silicons put in compared to what’s happening today. If I have to pick an actress I really like and who makes films now, I would say Meg Ryan, because what you see is what you get. She’s lovely, she can act, she is honest. I can totally identify with her work. But today everything is very shortlived, I believe, unless you’re a star like Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock of course. With a lot of today’s actresses, their acting is great, but somehow I miss something, the sincerity maybe. I was in the medium stage, between the really big studio stars who were created by the studios and today’s stars. I was never created, whereas today they create in another way, a sort of desperation about the fame. We worked, went home, cooked dinner for our husbands and families, and sometimes we went out, but it wasn’t like who has the biggest bust. And today, they do make wonderful movies and, coming from abroad, you always have and had to pay your dues to work in this country, because for each one of you there are fifty others waiting in the wings. A lot of Europeans who came over here twenty years ago, are still waiting for their break. They’re still going to classes and nothing will ever happen. One can still go to college at the age of 40 and get a bachelor degree, just in case. I never had that drive. Let’s say Richard Zanuck would be sitting over there in a restaurant, two tables further. I wouldn’t get up to go to the bathroom, just that he might notice me. If he’d come over, that’s wonderful, but I’d never cross the street to get any advantage or work.

Why?

It has to do a lot with the way you were brought up, what your father was like, what your family was like, what your own personal pride is. Suppose somebody would say to me, ‘My goodness, you were the most gorgeous thing anyone ever laid their eyes on,’ well, I never thought of myself like that at all. One day, a gentleman from the German magazine Der Spiegel interviewed me and asked, ‘How does it feel to know that two million men – or something like that, I don’t know the exact number he used – around the world go to sleep and think of you?’ I said, ‘What do you mean, how does it feel?’ You know, that’s a thought which is so strange to me and so totally unrealistic.

When Playboy magazine celebrated its 45th anniversary, you were voted among the most sexy actresses of the century, ranking at number 31, before Marlene Dietrich [# 32]. Did that have any effect on you?

Let me tell you this, one of the reasons why I also paint, is because it is something I can do by myself: I get the idea, execute the idea, and it becomes full of life, full of love, brightness and color. My whole life, I have been directed, I have been produced, I spoke the lines written for the character I was playing and the only thing I could bring, was my energy. So what is it, this sex appeal? Why was I voted in this list of most sexy women? It’s not because of my looks or anything, it’s because of the energy. People are sexy – although I hate that word – because of their energy. You can have the most beautiful person in the world, she can be perfect, but maybe nothing comes across, nothing you want to live with or nothing you want to hold. It’s an energy which comes from the inside, from your heart, from your soul or from your intelligence.

Another important instrument for any actor is the voice?

Absolutely, I made it a point to never watch anything I have done, besides having to dub sometimes, like “The Oscar” for example [dubbed in German]. It is something I always tried to do whenever I could, because I think the voice is incredibly important to an actor. It is as important as your acting or as your looks. People have told me they saw my movies where I didn’t have the time to dub myself and they said, ‘We couldn’t watch it, Elke.’ The Germans used to give me a very high voice, a blonde voice, and it ruined everything. So yes, the voice is extremely important.

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‘Painting With Elke Sommer, as seen on your local PBS station’, published in 1984

In the 1980s you hosted a TV show on PBS called ‘Painting with Elke Sommer’ and wrote a book, also called ‘Painting With Elke Sommer’ [1984], demonstrating various materials, techniques, etc. That’s a second career to you?

Painting is very individual and I found out that it’s a very quiet, introvert occupation. I can sit there for six, seven hours without going to the bathroom, without drinking or eating anything, just totally engrossed in my painting. When it’s finished, when it has become a product, it is not a co-production, not the result of a collaboration between actors, it is all mine. That gives me a lot of pleasure and I’m proud of it. It is the ideal antipole to acting which is very public.

Beverly Hills, California
March 2003

Trailer of “The Money Trap” (1966) starring Glenn Ford, Elke Sommer, Rita Hayworth, Ricardo Montalban and Joseph Cotten

FILMS

DAS TOTENSCHIFF (1959) DIR – PROD Georg Tressler SCR Hans Jacoby (novel by B. Traven) CAST Horst Buchholz, Mario Adorf, Helmut Schmid, Elke Sommer (Mylene), Alf Marholm

RAGIZZI DEL JUKE-BOX (1959) DIR Lucio Fulci PROD Giovanni Addessi SCR Lucio Fulci, Vittorio Vighi, Piero Vivarello CAST Mario Carotenuto, Elke Sommer (Giulia), Antonio de Teffè, Giacomo Furia, Yvette Masson

AM TAG, ALS DER REGEN KAM (1959) DIR Gerd Oswald PROD Artur Brauner SCR Gerd Oswald, Will Berthold, Heinz Oskar Wuttig CAST Mario Adorf, Christian Wolff, Gert Fröbe, Corny Collins, Elke Sommer (Ellen)

UOMINI E NOBILUOMINI (1959) DIR Giorgio Bianchi PROD Emo Bistolfi SCR Emo Bistolfi, Mario Guerra, Carlo Romano CAST Vittorio De Sica, Antonio Ciffariello, Silvia Pinal, Mario Carotenuto, Elke Sommer (Caterina)

L’AMICO DEL GIAGUARO (1959) DIR Giuseppe Bennati PROD Luigi Giacosi SCR Giuseppe Bennati, Fausto Tozzi, Edoardo Anton, Marcello Fondato (story by Giuseppe Bennati, Fausto Tozzi) CAST Walter Chiari, Isabelle Corey, Carlo Romano, Mario Carotenuto, Elke Sommer (Grete)

PICA SUL PACIFICO (1959) DIR Roberto Bianchi Montero PROD Ettore Rossi SCR Roberto Bianchi Montero, Giulio Scarnicci, Renzo Tarabusi CAST Tina Pica, Memmo Carotenuto, Elke Sommer (Rossana), Matteo Spinola, Ugo Tognazzi

URLATORI ALLA SBARRA (1960) DIR Lucio Fulci PROD Giovanni Addessi SCR Lucio Fulci, Giovanni Addessi, Vittorio Vighi, Piero Vivarello CAST Adriano Celentano, Mina, Joe Sentieri, Elke Sommer (Giulia), Chet Baker, Mario Carotenuto, Marilù Tolo

LAMPENFIEBER (1960) DIR Kurt Hoffman PROD Hans Abich SCR Heinz Pauck CAST Dunja Movar, Bernhard Wicki, Antje Weissgerber, Gustav Knuth, Elke Sommer (Evelyne)

FEMMINE DI LUSSO, a.k.a LOVE, THE ITALIAN STYLE (Trans-Lux Distributing, 1960) DIR Giorgio Bianchi PROD Dario Sabatello SCR Vittorio Metz, Oreste Biancoli, Roberto Gianviti CAST Ugo Tognazzi, Elke Sommer (Greta), Walter Chiari, Sylva Koscina, Gino Cervi

SAFFO, VENERE DI LESBO (1960) DIR Pietro Francisci PROD Marcello D’Amico, Gianni Hecht Lucari SCR Pietro Francisci, Ennio De Concini, Luciano Martino CAST Kerwin Mathews, Tina Louise, Enrico Maria Salerno, Aldo Fiorelli, Riccardo Garrone, Elke Sommer

HIMMEL, AMOR UND ZWIRN (1960) DIR Ulrich Erfurth PROD Franz Thierry, Joachim Sell SCR Thomas Westa (also novel) CAST Hartmut Reck, Gritt Böttcher, Hannelore Schroth, Ann Smyrner, Elke Sommer (Eva)

UND SOWAS NENNT SICH LEBEN (1961) DIR Géza von Radvánji PROD Artur Brauner SCR Willy Clever CAST Karin Baal, Michael Hinz, Elke Sommer (Britta), Wolfgang Lukschy, Heli Finkenzeller

GELIEBTE HOCHSTAPLERIN (1961) DIR Ákos Ráthonyi PROD Gyula Trebitsch SCR Gregor von Rezzori (play by Jacques Deval) CAST Dietmar Schönherr, Elke Sommer (Barbaba), Nadja Tiller, Walter Giller, Loni Heuser

ZARTE HAUT IN SCHWARZER SEIDE (1961) DIR Max Pécas PROD René Thévenet SCR Wolfgang Steinhardt, Grisha Dabat, Walter Ebert CAST Elke Sommer (Daniella), Ivan Desny, Helmut Schmid, Käthe Haack, Danik Pattison

AUF WIEDERSEHEN (1961) DIR Harald Philipp PROD Artur Brauner SCR Harald Philipp, Fred Denger (novel ‘Feinde Sind Auch Menschen’ by Reinhold Pabel) CAST Gert Fröbe, Joachim Fuchsberger, Günter Pfitsmann, Werner Peters, Elke Sommer (Suzy), Louis Armstrong

DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK (1961) DIR Cyril Frankel PROD Frank Godwin SCR Frederic Gotfurt, Dennis Cannan, Frederic Raphael (novel by Clifford Hanley) CAST Richard Todd, Nicole Maurey, Elke Sommer (Ingrid), June Thorburn, Judith Anderson

CAFÉ ORIENTAL (1962) DIR Rudolf Schündler PROD Artur Brauner SCR Janne Furch CAST Elke Sommer (Sylvia), Jerome Courtland, Trude Herr, Bill Ramsey, Walter Gross

DOUCE VIOLENCE (1962) DIR Max Pécas PROD Jacques Garcia, Joël Lifschutz SCR Jacques Aucante CAST Elke Sommer (Elke), Pierre Brice, Christian Pezey, Vittoria Prada, Jenny Astruk

DAS MÄDCHEN UND DER STAATSANWALT (1962) DIR Jürgen Goslar SCR Jürgen Goslar, Fred Ignor CAST Elke Sommer (Renate), Wolfgang Preiss, Ann Smyrner, Fritz Tillmann, Horst Janson

UN CHIEN DANS UN JEU DE QUILLES (1962) DIR Fabien Collin CAST Christian Marquand, Elke Sommer (Ariane), Sophie Daumier, Danièle Evenou, Madeleine Barbulée

BAHÍA DE PALMA (1962) DIR Juan Bosch PROD Enrique Esteban SCR José Luis Colina, Manuel Jiménez (story by Luis Colina, Manuel Jiménez, Manuel Vela Jiménez) CAST Arturo Fernández, Elke Sommer, Teresa del Río, José María Tasso, Salvador Soler Marí

NACHTS GING DER TELEFON (1962) DIR Géza von Cziffra CAST Elke Sommer, Ingrid Andree, Loni Heuser, Karin Heske

VERFÜHRUNG AM MEER, a.k.a SEDUCTION BY THE SEA (Europix-Consolidated Corp., 1962) DIR Jovan Zivanovic PROD Artur Brauner SCR Rolf Schulz, Jug Grizelj CAST Peter Van Eyck, Elke Sommer (Eva), Blazenka Katalinic, Branimir Tori Jankovic, Edith Schultze-Westrum

LES BRICOLEURS (1962) DIR Jean Girault SCR Jean Girault, Jacques Vilfrid CAST Francis Blanche, Darry Cowl, Clément Harari, Daniel Ceccaldi, Elke Sommer (Brigitte)

DENN DIE MUSIK UND DIE LIEBE IN TIROL (1963) DIR Werner Jacobs PROD SCR Max Rottmann CAST Vivi Bach, Claus Biederstaedt, Hannelore Auer, Elke Sommer, Trude Herr

THE VICTORS (Columbia, 1963) DIR – PROD Carl Foreman SCR Carl Foreman (novel ‘The Human Kind’ by Alexander Baron) CAST George Hamilton, George Peppard, Eli Wallach, Vince Edwards, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Peter Fonda, Melina Mercouri, Senta Berger, Elke Sommer (Helga), Albert Finney

THE PRIZE (MGM, 1963) DIR Mark Robson PROD Pandro S Berman SCR Ernest Lehman (novel by Irving Wallace) CAST Paul Newman, Edward G Robinson, Elke Sommer (Inger Lisa), Diane Baker, Micheline Presle

A SHOT IN THE DARK (United Artists, 1964) DIR – PROD Blake Edwards SCR Blake Edwards, William Peter Blatty (play ‘A Shot in the Dark’ by Harry Kurnitz, play ‘L’Idiot’ by Marcel Achard) CAST Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer (Maria Gambrelli), George Sanders, Herbert Lom, Tracy Reed, Graham Stark

UNTER GEIERN, a.k.a FRONTIER HELLCAT (Columbia, 1964) DIR Alfred Vohrer PROD Horst Wendlandt SCR Johanna Sibelius, Eberhard Keindorff (novel by Karl May) CAST Stewart Granger, Pierre Brice, Elke Sommer (Annie), Renato Baldini, Walter Barnes

THE ART OF LOVE (Universal, 1965) DIR Norman Jewison PROD Ross Hunter SCR Carl Reiner (story by Richard Alan Simmons, William Sackheim) CAST James Garner, Dick Van Dyke, Elke Sommer (Nikki Dunay), Angie Dickinson, Ethel Merman, Carl Reiner

LE BAMBOLE, a.k.a BAMBOLE (Royal Films International, 1965) DIR Dino Risi, Luigi Comencini, Franco Rossi, Mauro Bolognini PROD Gianni Hecht Lucarni SCR Rodolfo Sonego, Tullio Pinelli, Luigi Magni, Leo Benvenuti, Piero de Bernardi (stories by Rodolfo Sonego, Luciano Salce, Steno) CAST Virna Lisi, Nino Manfredi, Elke Sommer (Ulla), Monica Vitti, Gina Lollobrigida, Jean Sorel

HOTEL DER TOTEN GÄSTE (1965) DIR Eberhard Itzenplitz SCR José María Alonso Pesquera, Michael Dreesen, Joaquín Romero Marchent (novel ‘Die Rote Vase’ by Heather Gardiner) CAST Gus Backus, Renate Ewert, Frank Latimore, Hans Nielsen, Elke Sommer (Herself)

BOY, DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER! (United Artists, 1966) DIR George Marshall PROD Edward Small SCR Burt Styler, Albert E Lewin, George Kennett (story by George Beck) CAST Bob Hope, Elke Sommer (Didi), Phyllis Diller, Cesare Danova, Marjorie Lord

THE OSCAR (Embassy, 1966) DIR Russell Rouse PROD Clarence Greene SCR Russell Rouse, Clarence Greene, Harlan Ellison CAST Stephen Boyd, Elke Sommer (Kay), Milton Berle, Eleanor Parker, Joseph Cotten, Jill St John, Tony Bennett, Edie Adams, Ernest Borgnine, Walter Brennan, Broderick Crawford, James Dunn, Peter Lawford, Edith Head, Bob Hope, Hedda Hopper, Merle Oberon, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra

THE MONEY TRAP (MGM, 1966) DIR Burt Kennedy PROD Max E Youngstein, David Karr SCR Walter Bernstein CAST Glenn Ford, Elke Sommer (Lisa), Rita Hayworth, Ricardo Montalban, Joseph Cotten

LES CORRUMPUS, a.k.a DIE HÖLLE VON MACAO and THE CORRUPT ONES (Warner Bros.,1967) DIR James Hill PROD Artur Brauner SCR Brian Clemens CAST Robert Stack, Elke Sommer (Lily), Nancy Kwan, Christian Marquand, Maurizio Arena

DEADLIER THAN THE MALE (Universal, 1967) DIR Ralph Thomas PROD Betty E Box SCR Jimmy Sangster, David Osborn, Liz Charles-Williams (story by Jimmy Sangster) CAST Richard Johnson, Elke Sommer (Irma), Sylva Koscina, Nigel Green, Suzanna Leigh, Steve Carlson

THE VENETIAN AFFAIR (MGM, 1967) DIR Jerry Thorpe PROD Jerry Thorpe, E Jack Neuman SCR E Jack Neuman CAST Robert Vaughn, Elke Sommer (Sandra), Felicia Farr, Karl Boehm, Boris Karloff, Edward Asner

THE WICKED DREAMS OF PAULA SCHULTZ (United Artists, 1968) DIR George Marshall PROD Edward Small SCR Burt Styler, Albert E Lewin, Nat Perrin CAST Elke Sommer (Paula Schultz), Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer, Joey Forman, John Banner

THE INVINCIBLE SIX (Continental, 1968) DIR Jean Negulesco PROD Mostafa Akavan SCR Guy Elmes (novel ‘The Heroes of Yucca’ by Michael Barrett) CAST Elke Sommer (Zari), Curt Jurgens, Ian Ogilvy, Behrooz Vosugi, Lon Sutton

LAS VEGAS, 500 MILLONES, a.k.a THEY CAME TO ROB LAS VEGAS (Warner Bros., 1969) DIR Antonio Isasi Isasmendi SCR Antonio Isasi Isasmendi, Jo Eisinger, Luis Comerón, Jorge Illa, Giovanni Simonella CAST Gary Lockwood, Elke Sommer (Anne), Lee J Cobb, Jack Palance, Georges Géret, Jean Servais, Roger Hanin

THE WRECKING CREW (Columbia, 1969) DIR Phil Karlson PROD Irving Allen SCR William McGivern CAST Dean Martin, Elke Sommer (Linka), Sharon Tate, Nancy Kwan, Nigel Green, Tina Louise

PERCY (1971) DIR Ralph Thomas PROD Betty E Box SCR Hugh Leonard, Terence Feely (novel by Raymond Hitchcock) CAST Hywel Bennett, Denholm Elliott, Elke Sommer (Helga), Britt Ekland, Cyd Hayman

ZEPPELIN (1971) DIR Etienne Périer PROD Owen Crump, Leon Fromkess SCR Arthur Rowe, Donald Churchill (story by Owen Crump) CAST Michael York, Elke Sommer (Ericka), Peter Carsten, Marius Goring, Alexandra Stewart

GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NORIMBERGA (1972) DIR Mario Bava PROD Alfredo Leone SCR Vincent Fotre (also story) CAST Joseph Cotten, Elke Sommer (Eva), Massimo Girotti, Rada Rassimov, Antonio Cantafora

LA CASA DELL’ESORCISMO, a.k.a HOUSE OF EXORCISM (Peppercorn-Wormser, 1973) DIR – SCR Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone PROD Alfredo Leone, José Guttiérez Maesso CAST Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer (Lisa), Sylva Koscina, Alessio Orano, Gabriele Tinti, Alida Valli, Robert Alda

DIE REISE NACH WIEN (1973) DIR – PROD Edgar Reitz SCR Edgar Reitz, Alexander Kluge CAST Mario Adorf, Elke Sommer (Toni), Nicolas Brieger, Hannelore Elsner, Ferdy Mayne

EINER VON UNS BEIDEN (1973) DIR Wolfgang Petersen PROD Luggi Waldneitner SCR Manfred Purzer (novel by Horst Otto Oskar Bosetzky) CAST Klaus Schwarzkopf, Elke Sommer (Miezi), Jürgen Prochnow, Ulla Jacobsson, Kristina Nel, Walter Gross

TEN LITTLE INDIANS, a.k.a AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (Avco Embassy, 1974) DIR Peter Collinson PROD Harry Alan Towers SCR Peter Welbeck (novel by Agatha Christie) CAST Oliver Reed, Elke Sommer (Vera), Stéphane Audran, Charles Aznavour, Richard Attenborough, Gert Fröbe, Herbert Lom

PERCY’S PROGRESS (1974) DIR Ralph Thomas PROD Betty E Box SCR Sid Colin, Harry H Corbett, Ian La Frenais CAST Leigh Lawson, Elke Sommer (Clarissa), Denholm Elliott, Judy Geeson, Harry H Corbett, Vincent Price, Julie Ege, Barry Humphries, Bernard Lee

CARRY ON BEHIND (1975) DIR Gerald Thomas PROD Peter Rogers SCR Dave Freeman CAST Elke Sommer (Anna), Kenneth Williams, Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Connor, Jack Douglas

THE SWISS CONSPIRACY (S.J International, 1976) DIR Jack Arnold PROD Maurice Silverstein SCR Norman Klenman, Philip Saltzman, Michael Stanley (story by Norman Klenman, Howard Merrill, Norman Sedawie) CAST David Janssen, Senta Berger, John Ireland, Elke Sommer (Rita), John Saxon, Ray Milland

PRONTO AD UCCIDERE (1976) DIR Franco Prosperi SCR Peter Berling, Claudio Fragasso, Alberto Marras, Antonio Cucca CAST Ray Lovelock, Martin Balsam, Elke Sommer, Heinz Domez, Ettore Manni, Peter Berling

INVISIBLE STRANGER (1976) DIR John Florea PROD Earle Lyon SCR Arthur C Pierre (story by Earle Lyon) CAST Robert Foxworth, Stefanie Powers, Sue Lyon, Marianna Hill, Elke Sommer (Chris), Percy Rodriguez

ONE WAY (1976) DIR Sidney Hayers CAST Patrick Mower, Bradford Dillman, Elke Sommer, Dean Stockwell, Roberta Durrant

I MISS YOU, HUGS AND KISSES (1978) DIR Murray Markowitz CAST Elke Sommer (Magdalene), Donald Pilon, Chuck Shamata, George Touliatos, Cindy Girling

THE DOUBLE MCGUFFIN (1979) DIR – PROD – SCR Joe Camp CAST Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, Elke Sommer (Kura), Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Orson Welles

THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1979) DIR Richard Quine PROD Walter Mirisch SCR Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (novel by Anthony Hope) CAST Peter Sellers, Lynne Frederick, Lionel Jeffries, Elke Sommer (The Countess), Gregory Sierra

THE TREASURE SEEKERS (1979) DIR Henry Levin PROD Sam Manners SCR Rod Taylor (story by Walter Brough) CAST Rod Taylor, Stuart Whitman, Elke Sommer (Ursula), Jeremy Kemp, Keenan Wynn

A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE (1979) DIR Ralph Thomas PROD S Benjamin Fisz SCR Guy Elmes (also story) CAST Richard Jordan, Oliver Tobias, David Niven, Elke Sommer (Miss Pelham), Gloria Grahame

DER MANN IM PYJAMA (1981) DIR Christian Rateuke CAST Elke Sommer, Günter Kieslich, Friedrich G Beckhaus, Otto Sadler, Hermann Lause

NIEMAND WEINT FÜR IMMER (1984) DIR Jans Rautenbach SCR Scot Finch CAST Howard Carpendale, Zoli Marki, Elke Sommer (Lou), Jana Cilliers, Fiona Ramsey

JÁTSZANI KELL (1986) DIR Károly Makk SCR Frank Cucci (play ’A Testör’ by Ferenc Molnár) CAST Merwin Goldsmith, Adolph Green, János Kende, Christopher Plummer, Elke Sommer (Alicia)

STEIN DES TODES (1986) DIR Franz Josef Gottlieb PROD Artur Brauner, Theo Maria Werner, Chandran Rutnam CAST Elke Sommer (Kris), Tony Kendall, Heather Thomas, Brad Harris, Albert Fortell

HIMMELSHEIM (1989) DIR Manfred Stelzer PROD Klaus Volkenborn SCR Fitzgerald Kusz CAST Elke Sommer (Helga), Hanns Zischler, Siegfried Zimmerschmied

SEVERED TIES (1992) DIR Damon Santostefano PROD Christopher Webster SCR John Nystrom, Henry Dominic (story by David Casci) CAST Johnny Legend, Garrett Morris, Billy Morrissette, Oliver Reed, Elke Sommer (Helena)

ALLES NUR TARNUNG (1996) DIR – SCR Peter Zingler PROD Daniel Zuta CAST Mario Adorf, Ben Becker, Elke Sommer (Jutta), Muriel Baumeister, Peter Zingler

FLASHBACK – MÖRDERISCHE FERIEN (2000) DIR Michael Karen PROD Rikolt von Gagern SCR Natalie Scharf, Jimmy Sangster CAST Valerie Niehaus, Xaver Hutter, Alexandra Neldel, Simone Hanselmann, Elke Sommer (Frau Lust)

DAS LEBEN IST ZU LANG (2010) DIR – SCR Dany Levy PROD Manuela Stehr CAST Markus Hering, Meret Becker, Veronica Ferres, Hannah Levy, David Schlichter, Elke Sommer (Alfi’s Mother)

TV MOVIES

PROBE (1972) DIR Russ Mayberry CAST Hugh O’Brien, Elke Sommer (Heideline), John Gielgud, Burgess Meredith, Angel Tompkins

COLUMBO: THE MOST DANGEROUS MATCH (1973) DIR Edward M Abroms CAST Peter Falk, Laurence Harvey, Jack Kruschen, Lloyd Bochner, Elke Sommer

NICHT VON GESTERN (1977) DIR Ludwig Cremer CAST Heinz Baumann, Walter Giller, Paul Edwin Roth, Elke Sommer

THE FANTASTIC SEVEN (1979) DIR John Peyser CAST Christopher Connolly, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Seagren, Patric Macnee, Elke Sommer (Rebecca)

TOP OF THE HILL (1980) DIR Walter Grauman CAST Adrienne Barbeau, Sonny Bono, Peter Brown, J.D Cannon, Rae Dawn Chong, Mel Ferrer, Gary Lockwood, Paula Prentiss, Elke Sommer (Eva)

INSIDE THE THIRD REICH (1982, mini-series) DIR Marvin J Chomsky CAST Ruther Hauer, John Gielgud, Maria Schell, Blythe Danner, Trevor Howard, Derek Jacobi, Elke Sommer (Magda Goebbels), Robert Vaughn

THE WINDS OF WAR (1983, mini-series) DIR Dan Curtis CAST Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw, Jan-Michael Vincent, John Houseman, Polly Bergen, Elke Sommer (Lída Baroová), Topol, Ralph Bellamy

JENNY’S WAR (1985) DIR Steve Gethers CAST Dyan Cannon, Elke Sommer (Eva Gruenberg), Robert Hardy, Patrick Ryecart, Nigel Hawthorne

PETER THE GREAT (1986) DIR Marvin J Chomsky, Lawrence Schiller CAST Maximillian Schell, Vanessa Redgrave, Omar Sharif, Trevor Howard, Laurence Olivier, Helmut Griem, Elke Sommer (Charlotte), Ursula Andress, Mel Ferrer, Hanna Schygulla

ADVENTURES BEYOND BELIEF (1987) DIR Marcus Thompson CAST Edie Adams, Elke Sommer (Headmistress), Stella Stevens, Larry Storch, Graham Stark

NICHT MIT UNS (2000) DIR Bernd Fischerauer CAST Gila von Weitershausen, Elke Sommer (Andrea Paretti), Heidelinde Weis, George Meyer-Goll, Barbara De Koy

REBLAUS (2005) DIR Klaus Gietinger CAST Peter Harting, Elke Sommer (Maria Rüppel), Christine Reinhart, Katrin Bühring, Tom Beck, Tilo Prückner, Wolfram Ruperti

EWIG RAUSCHEN DIE GELDER (2005) DIR René Heindersdorff CAST Hugo Egon Balder, Jacques Breuer, Jochen Busse, Dorkas Kiefer, Elke Sommer (Frau von Korff)