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POLA (POH-luh)

Pola Negri – Polish silent films actress
Common clues:
Negri of old films; Old-time actress Negri; Theda contemporary; Negri of silents
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year
Pola Negri – Paradis, 1933

Pola Negri (January 3, 1897 – August 1, 1987) was a Polish film actress who achieved notoriety as a femme fatale in silent films.

Born Barbara Apolonia Chałupiec in the village of Janowa, Poland, Negri trained as a dancer and performed ballet until forced by illness to change her profession. She turned to acting, and by the end of World War I had established herself as a popular stage actress in Warsaw and had appeared in several films.

Her popularity provided her with an opportunity to move to Berlin where she appeared in several films for director Ernst Lubitsch. Their films were successful throughout the world, and in 1922 both were offered contracts with Hollywood studios. Negri's exotic style of glamour proved popular with audiences during the 1920s, and her association with such actors as Charles Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino ensured she remained in the public eye.

Negri caused a media sensation after the death in 1926 of Valentino by announcing that they had planned to marry, and following the train that carried his body from New York to Los Angeles, posing for photographers at every stop. At his funeral she fainted several times, and had arranged for a large floral arrangement which spelled her name to be placed on Valentino's coffin. Despite the wide publicity she attracted, many of Valentino's friends stated that Valentino and Negri had not intended to marry. They dismissed her actions as a publicity stunt. Negri's career began to decline. Her style of vamp was beginning to go out of vogue, and the advent of talking pictures revealed a accented voice that the public did not warm to.

She made only a few films after this, and worked mainly in Europe. In 1951, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Her final film appearance was in the 1964 Disney film The Moon-spinners. In the same year she received an honorary award from the German film industry, for her career work.

Negri lived her remaining years in relative obscurity. She maintained her flamboyant persona to the end of her life and was often compared to the Gloria Swanson character Norma Desmond, from the film Sunset Boulevard. She died in San Antonio, Texas from a brain tumour and was interred in Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles.

Pola Negri has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pola Negri".