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Austrian film legend dies aged 105

Liane Haid became a star as "Lady Hamilton" in the 1921 film


Austria's first film star, Liane Haid, has died in Switzerland at the age of 105. Her son, Pierre Spycher-Haid, said the retired actress died at her home outside Bern on Tuesday.

Born in Vienna in 1895, Haid trained as a dancer before switching to cinema, which was then in its infancy.

Between 1915 and 1942 she starred in 90 films, the earliest of which were silent. But it wasn't until 1921 that her career really took off, when she was cast as the lead in the historical film, "Lady Hamilton".

Unlike many stars of silent films, Haid had little difficulty adapting to the "talkies", and made more then 30 films during the 1930s. She worked mainly in Berlin and Austria, turning down offers to act in the United States and Britain.

In 1942 Haid retired from the film industry and settled in Switzerland with her third husband, a Swiss doctor. Her son said she decided to move because of the Nazi regime, the bombing of Germany and the fact that all the good film directors had left the country.

She was to spend the rest of her life - more than 50 years - in Switzerland. A memorial service will be held in the Bern suburb of Wabern on Friday.

swissinfo with agencies

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