Asta Nielsen

Active - 1910 - 1933  |   Born - Sep 11, 1883   |   Died - Jan 1, 1972   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Silent screen actress Asta Nielsen was renowned worldwide. Considered "the most fascinating personality of the primitive era," she made over seventy films in her 22-year career. Prior to her silver screen debut in 1910's Afgrunden, the Denmark born actress worked in the theater for ten years. She made Afgrunden against the advice of her theatrical peers, but it earned her immediate recognition for her naturalistic, subtle style that was in direct contrast to the broader acting style affected by most silent film performers. Soon after the film's release, she received a contract offer from a German film company. Three years later she became a world-renowned star. Part of Nielsen's naturalness on film came from her ability to 'live herself into' her characters. In addition to acting, she also participated in other aspects of filmmaking including the selection of locales, props, character development, casting, costuming, and publicity. While most of her films were melodramas, such as Die Verraeterin (1911), Nielsen always endeavored to expand her range. As a result, she has been described as not only, an extremely erotic actress, but also a gifted comedienne in films like Das Liebes-ABC (1916). In 1920, she formed her own production company. In 1932, she reluctantly made one sound film Ummoegliche Liebe and then permanently retired.

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