Lotte Lenya

Lotte Lenya Biography

Rosa Klebb From Russia with Love

Lotte Lenya was a multi-talented performer who left a lasting impact on the world of music and acting. With her roots in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, she was born Karoline Wilhelmine Charlotte Blaumauer on October 18, 1898 in Vienna, Austria.

Despite her humble beginnings, Lenya was passionate about dance and went on to pursue her dreams by studying classical dance, singing, and acting in Zurich, Switzerland. It was there that she adopted the stage name Lotte Lenya.

Lotte Lenya rose to prominence in Berlin where she met and married composer Kurt Weill in 1926. She was known for her ground-breaking performances in Weill’s plays and recordings of songs from those works. Her career took a turn in 1933 when she fled Nazi Germany, going to Paris, France before eventually settling in the United States with Weill. Despite their separation, Lenya remained dedicated to preserving Weill’s music and her efforts paid off when she won a Tony award for her role in a Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera in 1957.


Lotte Lenya’s portrayal of Contessa Magda Terbilli-Gozales in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) earned her an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. She also gained international fame with her role as dagger-shoed henchwoman Rosa Klebb in the classic Bond film From Russia with Love (1963). Lotte Lenya passed away on November 27, 1981 in New York, but her legacy lives on as she was buried alongside her husband Kurt Weill in Mount Repose Cemetery, New York.