Christians, Mady



By Caitlin Moffett and Carol Stabile

Marguerita Maria "Mady" Christians was born in Vienna, Austria on January 19, 1900. Her father, Rudolph Christians, was a well-known German actor and stage manager; her mother, Bertha Christians, was an opera and concert singer. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1912, where her father managed the German Repertoire theater in New York City. When Christians decided to pursue a career as an actress, her mother accompanied her to Berlin, where she studied at Max Reinhardt’s acting school. 

Taller than many leading men, Christians was a talented actress, with a fine soprano voice.  Christians made her debut in New York in 1915, in a one-act operetta titled Bruederline Fein Fine. In 1933, Christians was cast by MGM in A Wicked Woman and signed to a long term contract. Like many performers, Christians was relieved to flee the rising fascism of Germany. After returning to New York City, she performed in seven Broadway productions, including House, directed by Orson Welles.. Her talent was never in question: of her performance in A Divine Drudge, theater critic Brook Atkinson said, “It would be worth sitting through fifty bad plays to see her perform.”

Playbill for The Constant Wife


    Mady Christians

    In 1939, Christians played Lady Percy in King Henry IV, Part 1, directed by Margaret Webster—the beginning of a collaboration and friendship that would last the remainder of Chirstians’ life. Christians and Webster shared a circle of friends that included producer and actor Eva Le Gallienne and Marion Evenson, vacationing and working together on Martha’s Vineyard whenever they could. Webster admired Christians' talent, describing her as “distinguished, opulent with a slight German accent.”  ; In 1938, Webster cast Christians in the role of Queen Gertrude in Hamlet in what would become one of the defining moments of Christians’ career. Atkinson claimed “Mady Christians’ frightened, tortured, grieving queen is the best one this theatre-goer has ever seen.” Other successes followed, including a role in Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine, as well as a starring role in the hit I Remember Mama, produced by Rogers & Hammerstein, which was adapted for radio and then television. 

    Christians also appeared in numerous films in Germany and Hollywood, including Seventh Heaven (1937), Heidi (1937), Tender Comrades (1943), and All My Sons (1948).

    Christians taught acting classes at Columbia University in the 1940s.

    Christians died of a stroke on October 28th, 1951.



      Audrey (1916) as Evelyn Byrd

      Die Krone von Kerkyra (1917)

      The Lost Paradise (1917) as Edith Bernardi

      Die fremde Frau (1917)

      Am Scheidewege (1918) as Cornelia

      Frau Marias Erlebnis (1918) as Maria - ihre Tochter

      Die Verteidigerin (1918) as Linda Saltarin - Doktor der Rechte

      Die Dreizehn (1918)

      Eine junge Dame von Welt (1918)

      Nightshade (film) [it] (1918) as Fürstin Tscharkowska

      Am anderen Ufer (1918)

      Fidelio (1919) as Sonja Maderewska - singer

      Die Sühne der Martha Marx (1919) as Mady

      The Peruvian (1919) as Fernades Matamorer

      The Golden Club (1919) as Marga von Olsberg, junge Witwe

      Not und Verbrechen (1919) as Ruth

      Die Nacht des Grauens (1919)

      Die Gesunkenen (1919) as Reta de Lorni

      Der indische Tod (1920) as Inge, Frau von Ralph Leyen

      Indian Revenge (1920)

      Wer unter Euch ohne Sünde ist... (1921)

      Peter Voss, Thief of Millions (1921, part 1-7) as Gert, seine Tochter

      The Fateful Day (1921) as Felicitas / Harriet Steel / Jelena / Marietta

      Today's Children (1922) as Eva

      The Loves of Pharaoh (1922)

      It Illuminates, My Dear (1922) as Jeanne, Marquiße von Chatelet

      A Glass of Water (1923) as Königin Anna

      The Buddenbrooks (1923) as Gerda Arnoldsen

      The Lost Shoe (1923) as Violante

      The Weather Station (1923) as Die Dame

      Finances of the Grand Duke (1924) as Großfürstin Olga von Rußland

      Michael (1924) as Frau (uncredited)

      Debit and Credit (1924) as Baroneß Leonore vin Rothensattel

      Man Against Man (1924)

      Slums of Berlin (1925) as Regine Lossen

      In the Valleys of the Southern Rhine (1925, part 1-2) as Bettina von Wittelsbach

      The Farmer from Texas (1925) as Mabel Bratt

      A Waltz Dream (1925) as Princess Alix

      The Adventurers (1926) as Armely - seine Frau

      Nanette Makes Everything (1926) as Nanette

      Sword and Shield (1926) as Prinzessin Wilhelmine

      The World Wants To Be Deceived (1926) as Sefi - seine Tochter

      The Queen of Moulin Rouge (1926) as Die Herzogin

      The Divorcée (1926) as Gonda van der Loo

      Vienna, How it Cries and Laughs (1926) as Mery, seine Frau

      Out of the Mist (1927) as Lore

      Queen Louise (1927-1928, part 1, 2) as Luise von Mecklenburg, Königin von Preussen

      Grand Hotel (1927)

      Homesick (1927) as Fürstin Lydia Trubezkoj

      The Duel (1927)


      Film (continued)

      Miss Chauffeur (1928) as Steffi Walker

      A Woman with Style (1928) as Dschilly Bey

      The Burning Heart (1929) as Dorothee Claudius

      The Runaway Princess (1929) as Princess Priscilla

      My Sister and I (1929) as Prinzessin Matgarete von Marquardstein

      It's You I Have Loved (1929) as Inge Lund

      Lieutenant, Were You Once a Hussar? (1930) as Königin Alexandra von Gregorien

      My Heart Incognito (1931) as La reine Alexandra

      The Fate of Renate Langen (1931) as Renate Langen

      The Woman They Talk About (1931) as Vera Moretti

      The Black Hussar (1932) as Marie Luise

      Frederica (1932) as Friederike

      The House of Dora Green (1933) as Dora Green

      The Empress and I (1933) as Empress

      Manolescu, der Fürst der Diebe (1933) as Comtesse Maria Freyenberg

      The Only Girl (1933) as The Empress

      A Wicked Woman (1934) as Naomi Trice

      Escapade (1935) as Anita

      Ship Cafe (1935) as Countess Boranoff

      Come and Get It (1936) as Karie Linbeck

      Seventh Heaven (1937) as Marie

      The Woman I Love (1937) as Florence

      Heidi (1937) as Dete

      Tender Comrade (1943) as Manya Lodge

      Address Unknown (1944) as Elsa Schulz

      All My Sons (1948) as Kate Keller

      Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) as Frau Berndle



      The Father (Nov 16, 1949 - Jan 14, 1950)

      Message for Margaret (Apr 16, 1947 - Apr 19, 1947)

      I Remember Mama (Oct 19, 1944 - Jun 29, 1946)

      Watch on the Rhine (Apr 01, 1941 - Feb 21, 1942)

      The Lady Who Came to Stay (Jan 02, 1941 - Jan 04, 1941)

      Return Engagement (Nov 01, 1940 - Nov 07, 1940)

      Hamlet (Dec 04, 1939 - Jan 06, 1940)

      King Henry IV, Part I (Jan 30, 1939 - Apr 01, 1939)

      Hamlet (Oct 12, 1938 - Jan 1939)

      Heartbreak House (Apr 29, 1938 - Jun 1938)

      Save Me the Waltz (Feb 28, 1938 - Mar 1938)

      Alice Takat (Feb 10, 1936 - Feb 1936)

      A Divine Drudge (Oct 26, 1933 - Nov 1933)