Pola Negri photo

Pola Negri

Birth name:
Barbara Apolonia Chalupiec
Date of Birth:
1 August 1897 Lipno, Poland
Height:
5' (1.52 m)
Barbara Apollina Chalupiec (aka Pola Negri) was born in Janowa, Poland on New Year's Eve in 1894. Pola was born into a comfortable lifestyle until her father was arrested by the Russians and sent to a Siberian prison camp. Moving to Warsaw in 1902, she was to spend her formative years in dire poverty. As a teenager, Pola auditioned for the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet. She was accepted. As a ballerina she showed great promise until she contracted tuberculosis and was forced to cut short her dance career. Devastated that her dreams would no longer be fulfilled and wanting to escape poverty, Pola auditioned for the Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts and became a stage actress. By the time she was 17, Pola was a stage star in Poland. That was to change her life again with the advent of World War I. Once again Pola and her mother were plunged into poverty again, so she turned to film to make a go of it. Her first role was in the film, DIE BESTIE in 1915. By the time the war ended she had starred in the Polish production of SLAVE OF SIN in 1918. Her film career was becoming established. Her next film, later that year, was the highly acclaimed MADAME DU BERRY in 1919. It became an absolute sensation in Europe. The film was later released in the US under the name of PASSION. The film was so well received that she was given a contract to make films in Hollywood. Her USA career was off and running. In 1923 she landed the role of Maritana in THE SPANISH DANCER. The film was popular with filmgoers and they equally liked the productions of BELLA DONNA and THE CHEAT that same year. Her vamp roles were highly popular and she was a direct rival of Theda Bara. But her popularity was to be short lived. Pola made a spectacle of herself when she threw herself on the late Rudolph Valentino's coffin. The fans felt she was acting in public and began to turn away from her. The Hays Office, which regulated film content, would not allow her to portray the vamp roles that had made her famous elsewhere. Then the "talkie" revolution started. With her heavy accent, her dialogue did not come across well. Pola decided to return to Europe to continue her flagging career. However, she felt the Nazi regime would not allow her creativity so she returned to the US in 1941. She made _Hi Diddle Diddle (1943)_ in 1943 and became a US citizen in 1951. Her final film was as Madame Habib in 1964's The Moon-Spinners (1964). Retiring to San Antonio, Texas she died on August 1, 1987 at the age of 93.
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