One of the most beautiful actresses ever – in my opinion anyway – is the German 1960s starlet Elke Sommer. Elke was born in Spanday, Berlin on November 5, 1940. She was born into a world war and right in the center of the events too. She was the only child of the protestant pastor Peter Schletz and Renata Topp. In 1942 Elke and her family evacuated from a Berlin under an increasing bombing from the allies, and to the idyllic village Niederndorff outside Erlangen.
After the war she went to a prestigious gymnasium in Erlangen, and later she moved to England to work as an Au Pair and perfect her English language skills. Elke was spotted by the Italian director Vittorio De Sica, when she was in Italy on holiday. Her movie career started in Italian movies in the late 1950’s. Of course she became one of 1960’s sex symbols and she moved to Hollywood in the early 1960’s.
Elke has made 99 movies and television appearences in her active years from 1959 and 2005. She made a comeback in small role in the German movie “Das leben ist zu lang” in 2010.
She received the Golden Globe for “Most Promising Newcomer Actress” in 1964 for the Paul Newman classic The Prize. Other notable movies are A Shot in the Dark (1964) with Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, The Art of Love (1965) with James Garner and Dick Van Dyke, The Oscar (1966) with Stephen Boyd, Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966) with Bob Hope, the Bulldog Drummond extravaganza Deadlier Than the Male (1966), and The Wrecking Crew (1969) with Dean Martin; Elke had the leading female role in all of these films.
In later years she has concentrating on on her painting than acting. She also performed as a singer and made several albums.
She left Europe and became Americanized early in her career, and she still lives in Los Angeles. This multi-talented beauty was a part of some golden ages in the movie history, and she has played against many of the big names and Hollywood legends.
Today Elke is 74 years old, living with her second husband Wolf Walther, and I hope she is well and still going strong.