Surprisingly little is known about the life of the comedian and actress Ilse Bois, possibly due to being overshadowed by the stellar career of her younger brother Curt Bois.
She was born in Berlin around 1900, and from an early age was acting in children’s theatre to assist her mother, who was left to bring up 4 children on her own after their father deserted them. Her mother was re-married in 1907, to the playwright and librettist Albert Bernstein-Sawersky.
In 1911, she appeared alongside her brother in Shakespeare’s Richard II at the Circus Busch in Berlin, and from 1913 to 1918 she appeared in 11 films, alone and with Curt. Most notably, several dramatic fantasy-action films directed by Joseph Delmont; “Das Rechts aufs Dasein” and “Der Geheimnisvolle Klub”
She spent part of the First World War touring in a cabaret troupe performing in military hospitals and by the mid 1920′s was a regular performer at the Kadeko, and appeared in revues by Friedrich Hollaendar, such as “Es Kommt jeder dran” in 1928.
Ilse Bois as a Chicago Moll in “Achtung Aufnahme” at the Kadeko
(image: Galerie Bodo Nieman Berlin)
In 1927, she appeared as Miss Bourne in the Anglo-German film adaptation of Arnold Ridley’s classic play ‘The Ghost Train’ (Der Geisterzug), which premiered in Berlin in October of that year.
She continued performing at the Kadeko right up to 1933, when she fled Germany for Austria. She later moved to Paris and then to London.
She was seen on stage in New York during the 1940′s, in the “Kabarett der Komiker” in 1942, the “Kleine Bühne” in 1945 and at the Carnegie Hall in a memorial show for writer Karl Kraus in 1947.
She died on March 5th 1961 in London.
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