This gorgeous Teutonic temptress was one of Hollywood’s most captivating imports of the 1960s. Blonde and beautiful, Berlin-born Elke Sommer, with her trademark pouty lips, high cheek bones and sky-high bouffant hair-dos, proved irresistible to American audiences whether adorned in lace or leather, or donning lingerie or lederhosen.
She was born in Berlin-Spandau on November 5, 1940 with the unlikely name of Else Schletz-Ho to a Lutheran minister and his wife. The family was forced to evacuate to Erlangen during WWII in 1942, a small university town in the southern region of Germany. It was here that her parents first introduced her to water colors and her life-long passion for painting was ignited. Her father’s death in 1955 when she was only 14 interrupted her education and she relocated to Great Britain where she learned English and made ends meet as an au pair. She eventually attended college back in Germany and entertained plans to become a diplomatic translator, but instead… read more