A story about Marlene Dietrich by David Niven…a repost

1940 Briggs? and Marlene Dietrich

As we know, Marlene Dietrich was very glam. According to Mr. Niven she was driven around Hollywood in a black Cadillac by a chauffeur named Briggs. This, my darlings, would be photographic evidence.

Now, if you’ve been reading along you’ll know I took a short break from blogging to meet with my publishers… and, I got strep throat. Yeah, for the meeting and a big fat raspberry to becoming a walking petri dish. At any rate, it made me think of this:

Marlene, the most glamorous of all, was also one of the kindest. Once, I was ill with flu in my chalet shack on North Vista Street.

N. Vista St

She hardly knew me but Briggs was a friend and he told her I was sick. Marlene arrived with soup and medicine. She then went to work and herself cleaned the whole place from top to bottom, changed my bedclothes and departed. She came back every day till I was well.

The Moon’s a Balloon, by David Niven


  1. Can you imagine? Marlene Dietrich cleaning your chalet shack? She was probably singing too..
    “Cleaning the house again..
    never wanted to,
    what am I to do?
    I can’t help it.”

  2. I am laughing so hard coffee went up my nose! I think I’ll sing that song next time I tidy up 😉 And, I’ll have you know when I’ve got a sore throat, instead of sounding like Minnie, I sound a lot more like Marlene!

  3. Pingback: Best Moment Award | junesteward’s Blog

  4. Atreyu Crimmins

    I have a sudden urge to partake of schnapps and listen to Marlene…

    You’re the cream in my coffee,
    You’re the salt in my stew;
    You will always be my necessity
    I’d be lost without you!


    • What was so riveting about her singing style? It wasn’t her voice. Can it have been the weird mix of minx, sex, and aplomb? I’ll have to think on that – and now I’ve got that song running through my head!

      • Atreyu Crimmins

        The smoky bourbon-soaked accent. Oh dear, now I fancy watching Cabaret… and we know how that ended!

        You shall be my undoing, meine Schönheit.

  5. Oh V!
    What a Sunday treat!!
    All I can thing of now is Marlene in ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ and her best Dick van Dyke cockernay accent. Do you think she wore a headscarf in purple paisley. I do hope so…
    And ‘The Moon’s A Balloon’ for me David Niven and Dirk Bogarde go head to head for the best cinematic memoirs (on the male side of the house) ever.
    Thank you.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • The accent was egregious, but the movie was sooooo good. I went on a book buying binge recently, and not able to find Dirk Bogarde’s biography I ordered it from a bookseller in London. I’ve been informed it should arrive by the end of March, which means they must be sending it via steamboat.

  6. I find the stories about Marlene much more enjoyable than watching her act … or, gods forbid, listening to her sing. She’s not one of my darlings. It’s nice to know she was a good friend.

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