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Actress Luise Rainer dies at 104

December 30, 2014

A German-born star of Hollywood's golden era, Luise Rainer, has died at the age of 104. She was the first person to win back-to-back Oscars for acting.

Luise Rainer
Image: Getty Images/A. Rentz

Luise Rainer passed away on Tuesday at her home in London from pneumonia.

Born on January 12, 1910, the German-born American actress was discovered by Hollywood talent scouts while working as a stage actress in Vienna.

She became the first person to win two consecutive acting Academy Awards, taking the Best Actress Oscar in 1936 for "The Great Ziegfeld" and for "The Good Earth" in 1937.

The double Oscar win marked the peak of Rainer's career. She left America in the early 1940s, making one more Hollywood film in Switzerland in 1943. She said in an interview to mark her 100th birthday that she was not challenged by the roles coming her way.

Luise Rainer, circa 1937.
Luise Rainer, circa 1937.Image: George Hurrell/MGM/Margaret Chute/Getty Images

"It was all about money, money, money. But I wanted to play serious roles," Rainer said.

Later in life Rainer made occasional film and television appearances, including an episode of "The Love Boat" in 1984.

She is survived by a daughter who uses the stage name Francesca Knittel-Bowyer.

jr/sb (AP, dpa)