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141: Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, and the “sewing circle” (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 15)
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141: Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, and the “sewing circle” (Fake News: Fact Checking Hollywood Babylon Episode 15)

The bisexuality of Marlene Dietrich was not exactly a secret in 1930s Hollywood -- in fact, her ambiguous sexuality was part of her on-screen brand. But there is some debate as to who Dietrich counted among her lovers, and which of her fellow stars participated in what has been called the “sewing circle” of female intimacy. Anger alleges that Dietrich had a “passionate affair” with Claudette Colbert, an Oscar-winning actress with an extremely heteronormative persona. We’ll explore what was going on in Dietrich’s life and career around the time when this affair could have taken place, and then delve into Colbert’s image as a very different kind of on-screen sex symbol, and her complicated off-screen personal life.