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Gusti Huber
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    (July 27, 1914-July 12, 1993)
    Born in Wiener Neustadt, Austria-Hungary
    Auguste Huber
    Austrian-German stage star, later matinee idol
    Studied at the Academy for Music and Representative Art in Vienna
    Acted in films 'Savoy-Hotel 217,' 'Land of Love,' 'Between the Parents,' 'Marguerite,' 'Jenny und der Herr im Frack,' and 'The Girl of Last Night'
    Best known for her portrayal of Edith Frank in the original Broadway adaptation of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' (1955-56)
    Reprised the role of Edith in the Academy Award-winning George Stevens film of the same name (1959)
    Mother of popular 70s-80s sitcom/soap opera actress Bibi Besch (1942-1996); grandmother of Samantha Mathis
    She originated a role which some have deemed a mischaracterization (depicting Edith as needlessly repressive and fastidious).
    The casting choice itself was controversial in American Jewish circles (they argued that having Anne Frank's mother be a German actress was nothing short of an insult).
    It probably didn't help her case that her first husband, with whom she had two children before divorcing him in 1944, had fought on the side of the Nazis during the conflict.
    One unsubstantiated story claimed that, during her career in Viennese theater, she had refused to share a stage with a Jewish actor, another alleged that she refused to work with a director with a Jewish surname.
    Though her U.S. Army officer husband had beamed that his new wife 'was the first actress in Austria to be cleared by the American military government,' she did seem noticeably intent on distracting from her past as the star of several 1940s German romantic comedies.
    One searing article in The American Jewish Ledger made the rounds and did lasting damage to her public memory. Its author, Herbert Luft, charged 'while the real Mrs. Frank remained in constant fear for the lives of her dear ones, Gusti charmed the Germans [in the movie] Gabriele Dambrone.'
    Luft didn't stop there, further alleging: 'In 1944, when the Frank family was shipped off in sealed cars, Mrss Huber amused the citizens of the Third Reich with her starring performances. At the very same time Anne was murdered in Bergen Belsen, Gusti was busy shooting a screen comedy. I am wondering if she would have uttered the word Sholom from the stage had Hitler won the war!'
    She joined the Swiss Zurich Schauspielhaus as an ensemble member, in 1929, playing some 180 roles over a course of five years.
    Her Broadway debut was in Elia Kazan's 'Flight Into Egypt,' in which she played an Austrian refugee whose family was struggling to immigrate to America.
    She was the original actress to portray Margot Wendice - later made famous by Grace Kelly - in the Broadway production of 'Dial M for Murder.'
    If she arrived in America a mere decade earlier, she may have secured 'leading lady' status (her allure as a young starlet was comparable to Simone Simon or Annabella).
    She worked in German film, but its unlikely that she knew about - let alone supported - the homicidal anti-Semitic policies waged against the Jewish population of the period.
    If she really was a diehard Nazi loyalist she wasn't a very good one, marrying an American officer who fought for the opposing Allies (and one with a Jewish surname no less!)
    George Stevens and Garson Kanin (who directed the New York show) had both investigated the claims against her and found them to be unsubstantiated.
    Newcomer Millie Perkins cited her as having been one of the more helpful and patient cast members on the set (she would subtly feed her lines during some of the lengthier scenes).
    She officially retired from acting in 1961, although she spent the following decades lectured in New York area high schools on the legacy of Anne Frank.
    Her performance as Mrs. Frank was praised by critic Brooke Atkinson, who praised her bringing 'a grave, sensitive beauty to the character ... and the pain of a woman whose responsibilities are beyond human strength.'
    Her eldest daughter, Bibi, outlived her by only three years, succumbing after a long fight with breast cancer (whether the diagnosis occurred before or after Gusti's death remains unclear).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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