Marie Magdalene "Marlene" Dietrich was a German-American actor and singer. Throughout her long career, which spanned from the 1910s to the 1980s, she continually reinvented herself.

Her career began in silent films and she starred in one of the most influential sound films of the time, The Blue Angel (1930). Her performance in The Blue Angel began her long collaboration with famed director Joseph von Sternberg and brought her international fame. She signed a contract with Paramount and began making Hollywood films, becoming one of the best-paid actors of the era.

Although she continued to appear in a few films in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, she spent most of that time touring the world as a hugely popular live cabaret performer.

Throughout her career, she was known for challenging gender assumptions, often dressing in tuxedos. She would frequently begin her live show in a glamorous gown and then do the second part in a tuxedo, singing songs that were more often performed by men.

She also wore her famous tux, flirted with, and kissed a woman in the 1930 film Morocco.

While she still lived in Berlin in the 1920s, she enjoyed the thriving gay scene. Even then she was challenging gender roles, boxing at a famous prizefighter's boxing studio.

Although she could not be public about her sexuality, she did not work especially hard to keep her exciting love life secret. She had many affairs (often with the knowledge of her husband) with both men and women. Dietrich was a member of "The Sewing Circle," a phrase used to describe a collection of quietly lesbian and bi actresses in Hollywood.

Her many lovers included James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Erich Maria Remarque, Mercedes de Acosta, and John F. Kennedy.