Marlene Dietrich's Grandson Addresses Rumors about Actress' Final Days


Marlene Dietrich, perhaps the most glamorous and iconic actress of her time, was 90 years old when she passed away in 1992.

Starring alongside actors James Steward and Gary Cooper, Dietrich became an internationally renowned personality, giving audiences some of the best-loved films of their generation.

Dietrich is often remembered for her work in movies like, “Destiny Rides Again,” “The Blue Angel,” “Shanghai Express,” and “Morocco.” She loved entertaining and performing, and was still working well into her 60s.

After a lifetime of being in the public eye, Dietrich retired in her Paris home, only allowing family and close friends to visit.

While rumors swirled that Dietrich had become a recluse, her grandson, 67-year-old Peter Riva, set the record straight.

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Riva spoke at length as to how his grandmother spent her retirement. His grandmother was anything but reclusive in her final days, Riva explained.

“We used to struggle to pay her phone bill, which was $5,000 a month,” Riva recalled. “Hardly a recluse.”

“And 20-30 letters a day?” Riva exclaimed of his grandmother’s social life. “Good Lord, had the internet been around then, she would have been tweeting all the time!”

Dietrich did establish some boundaries for herself surrounding visitations. She only allowed family, close friends and her secretary to visit, and had a strict no-photography policy, according to Riva.

“She said, ‘I didn’t work for 60 years to have age destroy people’s image of me,’” Riva recalled. “’That’s what they need. That’s what lasts for hundreds of years.’”

Dietrich used her time to enjoy other interests that her work often kept her from for decades. She loved to read, and loved to cook.

“She was a wonderful cook,” Riva acknowledged. “She loved crime books. Gobbled them up.”

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Dietrich maintained her regular routines right up until a couple days before she died.

“She passed away looking beautiful,” Riva stated, which is how Dietrich would want to be remembered.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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