Marlene Dietrich for Harper’s Bazaar by Richard Avedon,1948.
Marlene Dietrich during the filming of “Monte Carlo Story”, 1956
April 23, 1931: Marlene Dietrich returns from Germany on the S.S. Bremen
Marlene Dietrich was holding infant David James when she tripped over some prop toys on the set of The Lady Is Willing (1942), a story about a Broadway star who is transformed by maternal love for an abandoned baby.
Conscious of the vulnerable baby in her arms, Marlene whirled around and took a painful fall that fractured her ankle. Her split-second decision to absorb the impact of the fall ensured that baby David remained perfectly unharmed.
Marlene was immediately rushed to the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital where the left of her iconic legs was put into a hefty plaster cast. She could now only be photographed in close-up for the rest of filming.
When production moved to New York for location shooting a month later the famous ankle was almost fully healed and only required taping up. Stepping off the train at Grand Central Station, Marlene whispered to a press representative, “Watch Mama make the front pages of every paper in New York.”
Marlene—having cleverly borrowed director Mitchell Leisen’s ornate walking stick—proceeded to stand for photographers and “described in excruciating detail her baby-saving accident.”