NEW YORK (JTA) — Luise Rainer, the first actress to win back-to-back Academy Awards, died on Tuesday at her London home. She was 104.
The daughter of a middle-class Jewish family that later escaped Nazi Germany, Rainer was born in Dusseldorf in 1910 and later spent part of her upbringing in Austria. She studied acting under Max Reinhardt, Austria’s premier stage director.
In 1935, she sailed to the United States and starred in her first Hollywood film, “Escapade.” She won the Oscar for best actress in 1936 and 1937 for her roles in “The Great Ziegfeld” and “The Good Earth” respectively.
She quickly became disenchanted with Hollywood and her success. After 1938, she left the film industry and moved back to Europe, where she lived until her death. During World War II, she appeared at bond rallies in the United States and entertained Allied troops in Italy and North Africa.
Rainer was the oldest person alive to have won an Academy Award.