By 1914 Erich Oswald Stroheim was working in Hollywood. He began working in movies in bit-
He began working with D. W. Griffith, taking uncredited roles in Intolerance. Later, he played the sneering German in such films as Sylvia of the Secret Service and The Hun Within. In The Heart of Humanity, he tore the buttons from a nurse's uniform with his teeth, and when disturbed by a crying baby, threw it out a window.
Following the end of the First World War, Stroheim turned to writing and then directed his own script for Blind Husbands in 1919. He also stared in the film. As a director, Stroheim was known to be dictatorial and demanding, often antagonizing his actors. He is considered one of the greatest directors of the silent era, representing on film his by turns cynical and romantic views of human nature.
His next directorial efforts were the lost film The Devil's Passkey (1919) and Foolish Wives (1922), in which he also starred. The studio publicity for the Foolish Wives claimed that it was the first film to cost one million dollars.
In 1923, Stroheim began work on his next film Merry-
Probably Stroheim's most famous work as a director is Greed, a detailed filming of the novel McTeague by Frank Norris. Stroheim filmed and originally edited a nine-
Stroheim's next films were the commercial project The Merry Widow (his most commercially successful film) and the more personal The Wedding March and the now-
Stroheim's unwillingness or inability to modify his artistic principles for the commercial cinema, his extreme attention to detail and the resulting costs of his films led to fights with the studios, and as time went on he received fewer directing opportunities.
In 1929 Stroheim was dismissed as the director of the film Queen Kelly after disagreements with star Gloria Swanson and producer and financier Joseph P. Kennedy over the mounting costs of the film and the introduction by Stroheim of indecent subject matter into the film's scenario.
After Queen Kelly and Walking Down Broadway, a project from which Stroheim was also dismissed, Stroheim became principally an actor, working in both the United States and France. He is perhaps best known as an actor for his role as von Rauffenstein in Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion and as Max von Mayerling in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard. For the latter film, which co-
In the 1932 movie The Lost Squadron he parodied his image when he starred as a detail-
In 1935, Stroheim's only novel to be published in English Paprika was published by Macaulay. Paprika is the sensationalized story of the life and death of a gypsy femme fatale.
Stroheim spent the last part of his life in France where his silent film work was much admired by artists in the French film industry. In France he acted in films, wrote several novels that were published in French, and worked on various unrealized film projects.
He was awarded the French Légion d'honneur shortly before his death in 1957 in Maurepas, France at the age of 71.