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Dorothy Clara Louise Haas (29 April 1910 – 16 September 1994) was a German-American actress and singer who played in German and American films, and often appeared in Broadway plays. Her husband was caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.

Dolly Haas
Dolly Haas - 1955.jpg
Haas in 1955
Born (1910-04-29)April 29, 1910
Hamburg, Germany
Died September 16, 1994(1994-09-16) (aged 84)
New York, United States
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1930–81
Spouse(s) John Brahm (1937-1941; div.)
Al Hirschfeld
(1943-1994; her death)


Life and workEdit

Haas was born in Hamburg, Germany, to Charles Oswald Haas, a bookseller of British origin,[1] and Margarete Maria (née Hansen). Haas was an accomplished actress in German cinema before moving to the United States.

Charles Haas was half-German, but grew up in England, with British citizenship. Dolly and her sister, Margarete attended Jacob Loewenberg's prestigious girls' school Lyzeum in Hamburg, the Anerkannte höhere Mädchenschule.[citation needed]

Her first marriage was to German-born film director John Brahm, who at one point was resident director for acting troupes such as Deutsches Theater and the Lessing Theater, both in Berlin.[2] Haas, a naturalized U.S. citizen, married her second husband, famed Jewish New York Times portraitist Al Hirschfeld in Baltimore, Maryland in 1943. They had a daughter, Nina, born in 1945.

Dolly Haas had her debut as a professional actress in 1927. She then worked at Berlin's Grosses Schauspielhaus, before embarking on a film career that brought her to England and to Hollywood. She also performed on Broadway. Haas enjoyed a brief but successful stage career in the United States as well, appearing alongside such luminaries as John Gielgud and Lillian Gish in the 1947 revival of Crime and Punishment. She made her New York stage debut in 1941 in Erwin Piscator's production of "The Circle of Chalk."[3]

She followed Mary Martin in the lead role in Lute Song in 1946 for the touring production. Her co-star, Yul Brynner, said that Haas' casting substantially improved the show, stating that, "Dolly Haas understood the part. She had an affinity for it, and the play immediately improved. It wasn't at all that Dolly was a better actress. She was just better casting for the part than Mary."

Mary Martin agreed with Brynner's assessment, and helped Haas to prepare for the role in a very short span of time allotted for rehearsal.[4] She performed in Off Broadway productions of The Threepenny Opera and Brecht on Brecht.[3]

Although Haas did not appear in many English language films, she had an important role in Alfred Hitchcock's 1953 film, I Confess. Haas was a personal friend of Hitchcock's, and Hitchcock cast her as Alma Keller, the wife of the murderer—janitor Otto Keller. This high-profile film also starred Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden and Brian Aherne.[citation needed]


Haas died 16 September 1994 from ovarian cancer in New York City, aged 84.[3]



  1. ^ German movie institute profile Archived 20 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ John Brahm at AllMovie
  3. ^ a b c Gussow, Mel (17 September 1994). "Dolly Haas, 84, an Actress And the Wife of Hirschfeld". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Davis, Ronald L. Mary Martin, Broadway Legend. University of Oklahoma Press, 2008, pp. 100-101.

External linksEdit