Not known to many today, Asta Nielsen (1881 – 1972) was one of the first movie stars of the silent era. She graduated from the Danish Theatre School in 1902 and worked with various theatres before giving up stage acting in 1909 to pursue a career in the movies.
Asta Nielsen soon became a major film star in Germany where she was simply known as Die Asta (The Asta). From 1911 to 1937 she filmed 70 films here, many of which were heavily censored in the United States due to Asta Nielsen´s ‘erotic’ performances. Her great contribution to film however was her transformation of movie acting from a theatrical to a more naturalistic and modern approach.
Asta Nielsen founded her own film studio in Berlin but returned to Denmark in 1937 after the rise of Nazism in Germany. In her later years she gave up acting and took up writing instead.
Asta Nielsen married three times, the last time at the age of 88, two years before her death in 1972.