Elisabeth Bergner, née Ettel, was born to a Jewish family in Drohobych, Galicia, in the Austria-Hungarian Empire (present-day Ukraine), and grew up in Vienna. She studied acting at conservatories in Vienna and Berlin and made her stage debut in 1919 in Zurich. She became a star in sentimental romances of the 1920s and grained international fame in 1924 the title role of Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Max Reinhardt. She made her first film in 1923, and her performance in Nju (1924), directed by her future husband Paul Czinner, was an immediate success. To escape the Nazi regime, the couple fled to London. There she was acclaimed for her performance in the play Escape Me Never (1933), which she repeated on Broadway in New York two years later. She remained in the USA until 1950, and although she made some other films in Hollywood, including "As You Like It" (1936) in her favored role of Rosalind, they were never equally popular. After World War II, she went on tour in Germany and Austria. She received awards at the Berlin Film Festivals in 1963 and 1965. In 1978, she published her memoirs, Bewundert und viel gescholten: Elisabeth Bergners unordentlichen Erinnerungen (Admired and Much Scolded: Elisabeth Bergner's Messy Memories).