'I thought I, and the many friends I encourage to stay at the Savoy, were considered GUESTS, not thieves!'
Marlene Dietrich fires back
Would it surprise you to learn that I miss you very very much indeed? In order to console myself I am thinking of taking up with Marlene Dietrich. So don’t linger too long at Montepulciano if you value the rather touching fidelity of your old sheep dog.
Letter to Virginia Woolf
17th May 1923
Exactly 120 years ago in Berlin, Marlene Dietrich was born. By the time of her death 90 years later she was an Oscar-nominated Hollywood star who had appeared near the top of the American Film Institute’s list of 50 Greatest American Screen Legends. She was also the proud recipient of the US Medal of Freedom, and other awards, for her wartime service. For all this and more, she was adored by millions around the world.
In 1975, she had been accused of stealing cutlery from The Savoy Hotel. This was her reply.
16 April 1975
Dear Mr. Griffin,
What a shame that after all these years the haggling over hotel hardware should be the termination of my relationship with the Savoy Hotel. For no matter how much I have loved this hotel in the past, being accused of “stealing” certainly makes it impossible for me to ever reside there again.
Actually the situation is so ludicrous that it has take me to time to realize that you really meant such an insult.
Assuming that I would wish to travel around the world with my luggage full of cutlery — I assure you that it would be of stirling and not your tawdry stuff! What happens, once the tables have been pushed into corridors in a frenzy to get rid of them after waiting for hours for the atrociously bad room service pick-up, should have nothing to do with your guests.
So we have come to the operative word, “Guest”. I thought I, and the many friends I encourage to stay at the Savoy, were considered GUESTS, not thieves!
I shall certainly now inform them of their new status should they ever decide to stay at the Savoy Hotel, which, of course, I shall never do again!
Ms Marlene Dietrich