Greta KELLER 1931-1938

Greta Keller-Bacon, born in Vienna as Margaretha Keller (February 8, 1903 – November 11, 1977) studied dance from the age of 8 followed by acting classes. Her début was in "Pavillon" in Vienna. She also appeared on Stage with Marlene Dietrich in "Broadway", in which she sang and danced. A recording contract with Ultraphon in 1929 her singing took her from Vienna to Prague and Berlin, where she had a big success with Peter Igelhoff and Peter Kreuder. For over 45 years, through a life of triumphs and tragedies, her voice a legend-in radio shows, films, revues, concerts and musicals, but above all her records circled the globe. First called 'The Great Lady Of Chanson' in her native Vienna, it followed her to London and America

In Hollywood she met and married Gaspar Griswold Bacon, Jr. son of Gaspar G. Bacon from a prominent Brahmin family. The elder Bacon was a member of the board of Harvard University, and had been a close associate of J.P. Morgan, and later served as Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt and Ambassador to France under William Howard Taft.
Known in film and theater as David Bacon, her husband was murdered in 1943, two weeks after finishing a major role in the Republic serial The Masked Marvel. Speculation involved affairs with Howard Hughes and another actor, but the murder was never solved. Not long after their child was stillborn.

It took some time for her to recover from these blows, but she restarted her career in Switzerland, then on to Vienna, Berlin and back to New York City.

Her lieder voice carried the charm of the Parisian women but never lost the heart of the girl from Vienna. Greta's singing in what some call "a style reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich" comes from the fact she was the model for how Marlene Dietrich developed her own voice. Greta Keller made recordings throughout the world and from the earliest days of "schellack" to the dawn of CDs. She spent many years in the United States, notably in hotel club rooms at the Waldorf and (later) the Stanhope in New York, where her show always included "My Way", composed by Paul Anka, and a number of Noel Coward numbers. A 'singer's singer', Keller often drew other performers to the room, including the Nordstrom Sisters, Beverly Sills and Hildegarde. Other regulars would book the same table most nights that she was performing which included photographer Edgar de Evia. Favorites of the Stanhope crowd were the songs of Cole Porter and Noel Coward, for their sexual innuendo and double entendres. These included "Miss Otis Regrets" and "I'm the Other Woman in His Life" by her close friend Elisse Boyd. She regularly returned to Vienna. The poet and singer Rod McKuen was introduced by her to an audience in Vienna. McKuen, in turn ,hosted a concert presenting her at Lincoln Center in the 1970s, and wrote the lyric "If You Go Away" to Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas", which she always sang.

Greta's greatest strength was in her adaptability. Each song, took the caress in her voice in a unique way. Her repertoire included songs from the 1930s through the war years as well as popular songs of the day. A few years before her death, her voice appeared in the Academy Award-winning movie, Cabaret (1972), for which she sang the song, "Heirat" (Married). The last years of her life, from 1973 to her death in November of 1977 Greta lived, worked, and traveled with the last great love of her life, Wolfgang Nebmaier, who now lives in Southern Oregon.

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