(December 6, 1904 – October 21, 1948) was an Italian
who was popular in Hollywood films
of the 1920s and 1930s.Obituary Variety
, October 27, 1948, page 55. Rumoured to be a descendant of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria
, she was noted for her aristocratic bearing.
Born Elisabeth Marie Christine Kühnelt
, Landi was raised in Austria
. From 1928 to 1936, Landi was married to John Cecil Lawrence, and from 1943 to 1948, to Curtis Kinney Thomas (1905-2002).
Her first ambition was to be a writer, and she wrote her first novel at the age of twenty. She would return to writing during lulls in her acting career. She joined the Oxford Repertory Company at an early age, appearing in many British and American stage successes.
During the 1920s she appeared in British, French
, and German
films before travelling to the United States
to appear in a Broadway
production of A Farewell to Arms
. She was signed to a contact by Fox Film Corporation
(later 20th Century Fox
) in 1931.
She played the heroine in Cecil B. De Mille
's The Sign of the Cross
(1932), but was overshadowed by Claudette Colbert
who played the flashier role of Poppea
. She was paired successfully with some of the major leading men, such as David Manners
, Charles Farrell
, Warner Baxter
, and Ronald Colman
in romantic dramas such as Body and Soul
(1931) before appearing in the box office hit The......