BEAUTIFUL SILENT FILM STAR XENIA DESNI AND HER JUMBO TEDDY BEAR

This vintage real photo postcard features actress Xenia Desni (1894-1962) snuggling with a large teddy bear. Miss Desni is beautiful and this photograph is a bit risque for it’s era. She has pretty eyes and a wonderful smile. Miss Desni was born in the Russian Empire and she and her family fled the Russian Revolution to Constantinople, which was in the Ottoman Empire. She began acting and dancing in vaudeville there and than moved to Berlin where she became involved in films. She began her career by appearing in the movie “Sappho” (1921). This was followed by a number of other film successes. The IMDb credits her with 33 acting roles between 1921 and 1940. She is most identified with “Leap Into Life” (1924),  “Der rosa Diamant” (1926)  and “The Tower of Silence” (1925). The introduction of sound movies, (she only appeared in one)  led to the death of her career. Xenia Desni was the mother of Tamara Desni, a star of British films in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Cabinet Card Gallery has a photograph of Tamara Desni (1913-2008) which can be seen by placing her name in this blog’s search box. The photographer of this portrait is the Willinger studio which was located in Vienna. Laszlo Josef Willinger (1909=1989) was a Jewish-German photographer known for his portrait photography of movie stars and celebrities. This area of concentration began in 1937. His mother, Margaret Willinger was also a photographer. Her work included photographs of theatrical stars. Laszlo Willinger established studios in Paris (1929) and Berlin (1931). At the age of 23, he left Berlin (1933) with the rise of Adolf Hitler and relocated to Vienna, Austria. He began photographing celebrities including Hedy Lamarr, Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung. Willinger was invited by studio photographer, Eugene Robert Richee to move to the United States and in 1937, he settled in Los Angeles, California. He then opened a photo studio in Hollywood and sold many of his photographs to magazines and other periodicals. He produced many magazine covers of popular stars. Among the stars he photographed were Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Fred Astaire. Interestingly, toward the end of his career, he was accused of stalking some celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin. This postcard was published by Ross Verlag of Berlin, Germany and is part of a series (no. 1661/1).

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