Marianne Sagebrecht was born in 1945 in Bavaria, Germany. Her films include “Bagdad Cafe”, “Sugarbaby” and “War of the Roses” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
This character player with a heart-shaped face and child-like features began her career as a leading producer and performer of Germany’s alternative theater/cabaret scene. The eclectic background of Marianne Sagebrecht included stints as a medical lab assistant and magazine assistant editor before she found her calling in show business. Claiming to be inspired by Bavaria’s mad King Ludwig II, she became known as the “mother of Munich’s sub-culture” as producer and performer of avant-garde theater and cabaret revues, particularly with her troupe Opera Curiosa. Spotted by director Percy Adlon in a 1977 production of “Adele Spitzeder” in which she essayed the role of a delicate prostitute, Sagebrecht was cast as Madame Sanchez/Mrs. Sancho Panza in Adlon’s TV special “Herr Kischott” (1979), a spin on “Don Quixote”. The director put her in his 1983 feature “The Swing” in a small role and then created the leading role of Marianne, an overweight mortician in love with a subway conductor, in “Sugarbaby” (1985) especially for her.
American films beckoned as well and Sagebrecht was often cast in roles tailored to her unique abilities. Paul Mazursky reworked the part of a Teutonic masseuse for her in “Moon Over Parador” (1988) while Danny De Vito tailored the part of the German housekeeper for a divorcing couple in “The War of the Roses” (1989). Returning to Germany, she shone as the timid maid in the 1930s who marries her Jewish employer for convenience then falls in love in “Martha and I” (1990; released in the USA in 1995). Sagebrecht headlined the black comedy as an unhappy wife whose straying husband plots her death in “Mona Must Die” (1994) and had small supporting parts in “The Ogre” (1996) and “Lost Luggage” (1998).
The above TCM overview can now be accessed online here.