Luise Rainer made history as both the first person to win multiple Academy Awards and the first to win them consecutively. Rainer began acting in Berlin at age sixteen under famed director Max Reinhardt before MGM talent scouts brought her to Hollywood in 1935. She immediately achieved stardom with her Oscar-winning performances in 1936’s The Great Ziegfeld and 1937’s The Good Earth, and was hailed as the next Greta Garbo. But Rainer then suffered from the “Oscar curse”: typecast by her famous roles as a long-suffering wife, she found it impossible to land parts that would allow her to stretch herself and she quickly faded into obscurity. Her contract with MGM ended in 1938 and she performed in only a handful of plays and movies after that, most notably 1997’s critical success The Gambler. She was a founding member of the Motion Picture Artists Committee and the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee; both groups protested Franco’s totalitarian regime in Spain. Rainer’s early successes, however short-lived, made her an essential part of Oscar anniversary celebrations for decades.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Luise Rainer." (Viewed on May 13, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/rainer-luise>.