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Nadja Tiller was one of the best known names in German-speaking cinema in the 1950s and 1960s and soon became famous abroad, even working with directors such as Roberto Rossellini and René Clément.

The Austrian Sophia Loren

A decidedly out-of-the-ordinary beauty, to the point of being crowned Miss Austria twice, in 1949 and 1951. A great ability to relate to often controversial and strongly sensual roles. An extraordinary versatility in theatre, film and television. This was Nadja Tiller, a true diva, one of the best-known names in German-speaking cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, who soon became famous abroad as well, even working with directors such as Roberto Rossellini and René Clément.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that Nadja Tiller has often been compared to Sophia Loren, given her charm and the strong subtle eroticism that has always characterised the characters she played. For this very reason, she was even considered an almost antithetical figure compared to her compatriot Maria Schell, who was much more ‘calm’. Yet, despite this, for more than fifty years the actress had only one love, the comedian and actor Walter Giller, with whom she had two children, Natascha (1959) and Jan-Claudius (1964), to whom she remained married until his death in 2011 and with whom she formed a true dream couple from the 1950s onwards.

Born in Vienna on March 16, 1929, her father was the Austrian actor Anton Tiller, while her mother, Erika Körner, was an operetta singer from Danzig. Due to her parents’ profession, young Nadja attended no less than eighteen different schools, before beginning to study dance and acting at the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna. The successes, from then on, were not long in coming and already immediately after her studies Nadja Tiller became a permanent member of the ensemble of the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna, often also working on stages in Salzburg and Germany.

Soon, therefore, the film world also began to take an interest in her and the first feature film she took part in was Märchen vom Glück, directed by Arthur de Glahs in 1949. From then on, Nadja Tiller became an increasingly popular actress. With German director Rolf Thiele, the actress collaborated numerous times throughout her career, becoming famous with the feature film She (1954), up to the film-scandal Rosemary (1958), in which the story of the high-class prostitute Rosemarie Nittribitt, who was brutally murdered during the Adenauer Republic, was told, and to the feature films Tonio Kröger (1964) and Daisy Chain (1965).

Having become an international star, as already mentioned, Nadja Tiller also had the opportunity to work with Roberto Rossellini (in Black Soul, 1962), Terence Young (in The Poppy Is Also a Flower, 1966), Luciano Salce (in Love Parade, 1966), Harald Philipp (in Death Knocks Twice, 1969) and René Clément (in Wanted: Babysitter, 1975), acting alongside the likes of Curd Jürgens, Jean Gabin, Yul Brinner, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Rod Steiger and Mario Adorf, just to name a few, and even refusing to work for directors Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini.

From the 1970s onwards, Nadja Tiller worked mainly for television and the last feature film she took part in was the comedy Dinosaurier, directed by Leander Haußmann in 2009. After many years spent with her husband near Lugano, the actress moved to the Augustinum retirement home in Hamburg in 2004, where she died on February 21, 2023 shortly before her ninety-fourth birthday. Just like her husband Walter, Nadja also wanted to be buried at sea and on her parents’ grave, at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, a plaque still stands in her memory today. Her audience, however, never forgot her. Her graceful and sensual face, her charming style and her hoarse voice made her, in fact, deservedly immortal.

Info: the page of Nadja Tiller on iMDb