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Fern Andra


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Fern Andra (November 24, ca. 1894– February 8, 1974) was an American actress, film director, script writer and producer. Next to Henny Porten and Asta Nielsen she was one of the most popular and best-known actresses in German silent films of the 1910s.


Born as Vernal Edna Andrews in Watseka, Illinois, the daughter of a circus performer and an opera singer, Andra was already appearing in public in a tightrope act by the age of four.

She was later trained in song and dance. As early as 1899, in New York, she made her first film, a version of Uncle Tom's Cabin. She remained however with the circus, with which she embarked on an extensive tour across the United States, Canada and Europe. While in Berlin she met Max Reinhardt, who gave her acting lessons

In 1913 she appeared in her first German film, entitled Das Ave Maria. Still only moderately well-known, she made her only Austrian film in 1915: Zwei Freunde. From 1916 to 1918 she appeared almost exclusively on camera with Alfred Abel In 1920 she starred in Robert Wiene's expressionist horror film Genuine.

In the mid-1920s she lost her public appeal in Germany. From 1928 she worked in the UK and the USA, later expanding her range to include radio and television. On July 4, 1922, she was in a plane crash, in which the pilot, WWI flying ace Lothar von Richthofen, was killed. Andra survived but her companion, director Georg Bluen, died the following day from his injuries.


Fern Andra was married four times; all of the unions were childless:

Baron Friedrich von und zu Weichs (died in 1917)

Kurt Prenzel (married 1923 or 1924; divorced)

Ian Keith (married 1932; divorced)

Gen. Samuel Edge Dockrell (died in 1973)


Fern Andra died in Aiken, South Carolina, on February 8, 1974; she was around 79 years old.









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