Margo Lion

Marguerite Hélène Constantine Barbe Elisabeth Lion was a French Singer and Actress, born in Istanbul (then Constantinople) on February 28th 1899.

She first came to Berlin in 1921 and made her debut at Trude Hesterbergs cabaret ‘Wild Bühne’ (The Wild Stage) in 1923. She performed the songs of her long-term boyfriend, the lyricist Marcellus Schiffer, who she married in 1928.

(Image: Archiv Der Akademie der Künst, Berlin)

(Image: Archiv Der Akademie der Künst, Berlin)

Her appearance and style was thought to be a huge influence on her friend, the young and then unknown, Marlene Dietrich.

She performed the controversial duet “Wenn Die Beste Freundin” with Dietrich in the revue “Es Liegt In Der Luft” in 1928. She also appeared in the famous Friedrich Hollaender Revues “Das Bist Du” (That’s You) in 1927 and “Bei Uns um Die Gedächtniskirche rum” (With Us ’round The Memorial Church) in 1928.

(Image: Archiv Der Akademie der Künst, Berlin)

(Image: Archiv Der Akademie der Künst, Berlin)

She appeared in 10 films between 1926 and 1932, and in 1931  was cast as Jenny in the French language film adaptation of Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera ” L’Opera des quat’sous”.

In 1932, her husband, Marcellus Schiffer committed suicide and by 1933, with the rise to power of the Nazi’s, she left Berlin for Paris.

She  continued to work as a singer and actress, specialising in the work of Brecht on stage, and made a further 18 films from 1935 to 1976, appearing again alongside Marlene Dietrich in the French film  ‘Martin Roumagnac’ in 1946.

She made a return to Berlin in 1977, appearing at the Berlin Festival, performing ‘Es Liegt In Der Luft”  accompanied by Mischa Spoliansky on the piano.


She died in Paris on February 25th 1989, 3 days before her 90th birthday.

The extensive Marcellus Schiffer/Margo Lion archive is located in Der Archiv Der Akademie Der Künste in Berlin.

This entry was posted in History, People, Shows, Songs and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Margo Lion

  1. To Whom It May Concern,

    I love these photos of Margo Lion. My company, New Jersey Youth Theatre (NJYT), has permission to present the most recent version of “Cabaret” this summer at two theatres. (The actors range in age from 18-25. The quality of production is quite high — see our website.) Ms. Lion reminds me so much of Sally Bowles. We are looking for a logo for the show and I would be very interested in obtaining permission to use an image of Ms. Lion. Please instruct me as to how I may go about doing this.

    Thanks so much.
    Cynthia Meryl
    Artistic Director

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