This legendary woman was a true regal figure in the early years of the entertainment industry. A true pioneer of film. This Polish native was the sex symbol & highest paid actress of her era. Born Barbara Apolonia Chałupec in 1897, she was poised to achieve worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles in the 1920s.
She became the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and became one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. Her varied career included work as an actress in theater and vaudeville, as a singer and recording artist, as an author and even as a ballerina.
She was married to a Count but that quickly dissolved & she went on to have affairs with film greats such as Charlie Chaplin, Rod La Rocque, and Rudolph Valentino. Her popularity as an actress in Poland provided her with an opportunity to move to Berlin, Germany, in 1917, where she made six films with Ernst Lubitsch. One of their last films, Madame DuBarry, became such an huge international success that it managed to bring down the American embargo on German films. This launched a demand for German films that briefly threatened to dethrone Hollywood’s dominance in the international film market. Hollywood then sought the opportunity to buy out the top German film talents, including Pola Negri. She then signed a lucrative contract with Paramount Pictures, becoming the first ever continental star to be imported to the United States of America.