Josef von Sternberg

Josef von Sternberg (29 May 1894 – 22 December 1969) — born Jonas Sternberg — was an Austrian-American film director. He is particularly noted for his distinctive mise en scène, use of lighting and soft lens, and seven-film collaboration with actress Marlene Dietrich. Von Sternberg was born Jonas Sternberg to a Jewish family in Vienna. When he was two years old the family moved to America, and he spent most of his childhood in New York City and Lynbrook, New York. His father, Moses (Morris) Sternberg, a former soldier in the army of Austria-Hungary, twice tried to make a home for the family in the US before finding employment as a lace worker. (The false aristocratic title 'von' was added in 1925 by actor/co-producer Elliott Dexter during the production of By Divine Right, supposedly to "even up" the credits as they appeared on screen. Sternberg did not protest, since it invited comparison with his hero, Erich von Stroheim.). Von Sternberg dropped out of Jamaica High School and worked as an errand boy in a lace warehouse. He later obtained a job cleaning and repairing movie prints, and by about 1915 found himself working for William A.



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