February 13, 2022

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Elke Sommer – How Old, Where, And What About The Star

Elke Sommer is an actress, artist, and socialite of legendary status. She made her debut in 1959 and rocked Hollywood with her beauty and talent for the next 60 years. The German-born star is now in semi-retirement and on to some other endeavor(s). Here are all the facts you need to know about the thespian who came to Hollywood, saw a lot and conquered many.

Elke Sommer – how old?

If your history holds, you will remember that the Second World War happened between 1939 and 1945 and Germany was in the center of the madness. It was around this time, in November 1940, that Elke Sommer was born as Elke Baronesse von Schletz to a church minister and his wife. In the early period of the war, Germany had the stronger ground. Then Pearl Harbor happened and a certain United States of America entered the war, then Germany went from winning to losing, and the Allied Forces bombed Berlin heavily.

The Schletz family escaped Berlin in 1942 to Erlangen, a small village in the south of the country. It was in this place that Elke grew up. It was hell in the years after the war. In 1955, her father died. She could no longer afford to remain in school and she dropped out. England saved her. She moved to the UK where she worked as a domestic assistant under the au pair system. And where she perfected her English.

Elke Sommer is 83 years old.

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Elke Sommer – marriages

Elke Sommer has married twice. First, she was married to Joe Hyams the writer and author who was famous as a writer of biographies of stars. He was born in 1923 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hyams got married to Elke in 1964 in Las Vegas. The marriage ended in divorce in 1993 (some publications put the time of divorce as 1981; this date is not true, it is closer to the time the two separated but didn’t officially divorce till the 1990s). Elke was Hyams’ third wife.

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The marriage didn’t produce an offspring as Ms. Sommer suffered three miscarriages. This is even more heartbreaking considering the fact that all miscarriages happened on set while making movies. It is not known as a concrete fact but these miscarriages didn’t do their marriage many favors.

A year after the divorce, Mr. Hyams got married to his fourth and last wife. Hyams passed away in 2008.

Before she formally divorced Hyams, Elke Sommer dated and even lived with Tom Bohla but it didn’t work. In 1993, Sommer married her second husband, a hotel manager named Wolf Walther. Mr. Walther is eight years younger than Elke. She met him in 1992.  “For him, it was love at first sight,” she said of her man. “For me, it took a little longer, but not much longer.” The two have remained married to this moment and according to the Hollywood matriarch “still unfolding and getting better by the day.”

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What has Elke Sommer’s career been like?

Elke Sommer has acted in more than one hundred films, drama, and shows. Acting came to her accidentally; she was trained as a painter in from her childhood days in Germany, a skill she brought with her to England and might have expected to make a living with. But it didn’t happen. While holidaying in Italy, in 1958, she participated in Miss Viareggio Turistica or something of that nature and won. While many saw a beautiful girl, one smart director saw in the blond and shapely girl an actress and a career was born. To make it easier for a non-German audience to pronounce her name, Elke anglicized Schletz to Sommer.

Elke Sommer became an instant hit. She was hot, a sex symbol and European audience couldn’t have enough of her – she was in a couple of Italian, German, French and British films and musicals (some of her credits include “Don’t Bother to Knock”, “The Day The Rains Came”, “The Dead Ship” etc. She moved to Hollywood in 1963.

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Her first movie in the new world was “The Prize” in which she was rewarded with a Golden Globe award for the Most Promising Newcomer Actress. She never looked. Some of her movies in that early period include “Boy, Did I Dial the Wrong Number”, a romantic comedy from 1996, “The Wicked Dreams of Paula Shultz” (1968), “The Art of Love” a comedy film from 1995 featuring a certain Dick Van Dyke (you can find something about him here).

In the decades that followed, she featured in many series and films in Europe and America, in English or German or Italia, appeared in Playboy covers and hosted the show “The Exciting World of Speed and Beauty”. From the 1990s, she began to act less and paint more.

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Where is Elke Sommer now?

Elke Sommer’s last major film was a German-language film in 2010. Now, she lives in Los Angeles with Walther “the greatest love story of my life” and doing mostly painting. And enjoying her 20 million dollars net worth.

Image source: Pinterest


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