Käthe von Nagy

Käthe von Nagy

Watercolor postcard of Käthe von Nagy from 1934
Born Ekaterina Nagy von Cziser
(1904-04-04)April 4, 1904
Subotica, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary
Died December 20, 1973(1973-12-20) (aged 69)
United States
Other names Kathy von Nagy, Käthe de Nagy, Kate de Nagy, Nagy Kató
Occupation Actress, model, dancer, and singer
Years active 1929–1952

Ekaterina Nagy von Cziser, better known by her stage name Käthe von Nagy (4 April 1904 – 20 December 1973), was a Hungarian actress, model, dancer, and singer who worked in the German and French cinema.

Early life and education

Käthe von Nagy, the daughter of a wealthy bank manager and part of an aristocratic Hungarian family, spent very little time at monastery school.[1] When she wanted to get married at the unusually young age of 16, her parents did not approve, and placed her in the Santa Chrisitana Convent near Vienna to prevent this early marriage.[2] After 18 months in the convent, she went to high school in Vienna, and then finally to boarding school.[1] During this period, she took riding and fencing lessons.[2]


As a young adult, Nagy's dream was to become an author, also unusual for a woman of her time. She went to Budapest, where she wrote a few short articles that were eventually published in a magazine.[2] Shortly after this, she decided to pursue her interest in acting and enrolled in the acting school of Béla Gáal, near Budapest. There she learned acting, dancing, and singing. Her parents were unhappy about her change of career and frequent moves.[2] To satisfy her parents (especially her father), she returned and worked with him in his bank for a period of time, while secretly writing novels.[2]

In 1926, Nagy moved to Berlin to pursue a career in the film industry, but as she was then unknown, she took a position as correspondent for the Hungarian newspaper Pesti Hírlap to earn a living.[2] After numerous futile applications in the city, Hungarian film director Alexander Korda got her a role as an actress in the 1927 comedy film Männer vor der Ehe, opposite her future husband, Constantin J. David.[1] Soon after that she starred in the successful Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume ("Vienna, City of My Dreams"), which made her known as the "up-and-coming young actress of the European cinema". She later appeared in many leading roles and became famous for her countless postcards, which also benefitted her modeling career.[2] In 1930s, she starred in Le Capitaine Craddock, which made her notable in France, where she would later make half her movies.[2] From 1937 onwards she was mainly in French-speaking roles, but also appeared in Italian and Austrian film productions. Her last film was the German film Die Försterchristl in 1952, alongside Johanna Matz.[2]

During the Second World War, Nagy virtually retired from the acting industry, appearing in only one movie, Mahlia la métisse.[1] Because of her notability due to her famous and hugely popular postcards, she was, in 1940, reportedly approached by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, who asked her to be the face and body for sex dolls provided to German soldiers as a way to combat syphilis at the front, but she refused.[3] This story has come to be considered a hoax, due to the lack of reliable sources backing it up.[4]

Personal life

Nagy's first marriage was to film director Constantin J. David, in 1927, the same year they met. Her second marriage was to Jacques Fattini; little is known about their relationship and marriage.[2] She died of cancer in 1973, in Ojai, California, aged 69.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1927 Männer vor der Ehe The young girl Silent film
Der Anwalt des Herzens (Attorney for the Heart) Silent film
Das brennende Schiff Anni Silent film
Gustav Mond ... Du gehst so stille (You Walk So Softly) Frieda Krause Silent film
1928 Die Sandgräfin Silent film
Die Durchgängerin (The Runaway Girl) Ilsebill Thoms Silent film
Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume (Vienna, City of My Dreams) Countess Mizzi Lichtenau Silent film
Die Republik der Backfische (The Republic of Flappers) Billie van Santen Silent film
1929 Der Weg durch die Nacht Silent film
Rotaie (Rails) The young girl Silent film / Italian-language film
Mascottchen (Mascots) Margot Silent film
Aufruhr im Junggesellenheim Käthe Silent film
Die kleine Veronika Veronika Weber Silent film
1930 Les Saltimbanques / Gaukler Suzanne Daniela German- and French-language film
Der Andere (The Other) Amalie Frieben German-language film
1931 Ihre Majestät die Liebe (Her Majesty the Barmaid) Lia Török German-language film
Ihre Hoheit befiehlt (Her Grace Commands) Princess Marie-Christine German-language film
Meine Frau, die Hochstaplerin (My Wife, the Impostor) Jutta Bergmann German-language film
Le Capitaine Craddock (Captain Craddock) Queen Yola French-language film
Ronny Ronny German-language film
Ronny Ronny French-language film
1932 Der Sieger (The Victor) Helene German-language film
Le Vainqueur Helene French-language film
Das schöne Abenteuer (The Beautiful Adventure) Hélène de Trevillac German-language film
La Belle Aventure (The Beautiful Adventure) Hélène de Trevillac French-language film
Ich bei Tag und Du bei Nacht (I by Day, You by Night) Grete German-language film
À moi le jour, à toi la nuit Juliette French-language film
1933 Flüchtlinge Kristja Laudy German-language film
1934 Au bout du monde Christine Laudy French-language film
Einmal eine große Dame sein (Just Once a Great Lady) Kitty Holm German-language film
Un jour viendra (A Day Will Come) Kitty French-language film
Die Freundin eines großen Mannes Marga Köhler German-language film
Die Töchter ihrer Exzellenz Gerti von Petrin German-language film
La Jeune Fille d'une nuit Betty French-language film
Der junge Baron Neuhaus (The Young Baron Neuhaus) Christl Palm German-language film
Nuit de mai (Night in May) Christel Palm French-language film
Liebe, Tod und Teufel Kokua German-language film
Prinzessin Turandot (Princess Turandot) Turandot German-language film
1935 Turandot, princesse de Chine (Turandot, Princess of China) Turandot French-language film
La Route impériale Joyce Stark French-language film
Le Diable en bouteille Kolua French-language film
Die Pompadour Madame de Pompadour German-language film
1936 Ave Maria Claudette German-language film
1937 Cargaison blanche (White Cargo) Marion Baker French-language film
La Bataille silencieuse Draguicha French-language film
1938 Nuits de princes Hélène French-language film
Die unruhigen Mädchen Trixi German-language film
Am seidenen Faden (By a Silken Thread) Lissy Eickhoff German-language film
Unsere kleine Frau Dodo German-language film
Mia moglie si diverte Dodo Italian-language film
Accord final Hélène Vernier French-language film
1939 Salonwagen E 417 Baroness Ursula von Angerfeld German-language film
Renate im Quartett (Renate in the Quartet) Renate Schmidt German-language film
1943 Mahlia la métisse (Mahlia the Mestiza) Mahlia French-language film
1948 Cargaison clandestine (Secret Cargo) Luisa Helm French-language film
1952 Die Försterchristl Countess Josefine German-language film


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Portrait of the Actress Käthe von Nagy". Cyranos. Retrieved 2014-30-05.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Postcard Friendship Friday – Käthe von Nagy". Film Star Postcards. Retrieved 2014-30-05.
  3. "Hitler Gave Nazi Soldiers Blow Up Sex Dolls To Combat Syphilis: Book". Huffington Post. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  4. Ferguson, Anthony (26 July 2010). The Sex Doll: A History (1st ed.). McFarland. pp. 24–27. ISBN 978-0786447947. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
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