Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Jeanette Schmid, the Cross-dressing Whistler

On the 6th of November 1924, Rudolf Schmid was born in Volary, Sudetenland (now in the Czech Republic). In 1941 he enlisted in the Wehrmacht, the German Armed Forces, aged just 17 and served in the beginning of WWII at Udine in Italy. However, Schmid’s constitution was not built for the army. “A delicate young man, he was unhappy with military life and already confused by his sexual identity. He was, as he later put it, “saved” from the army by typhoid fever, which nearly cost him his life, but also saw him invalided home. But Schmid, like many Sudeten Germans, was forced to flee as the Czechs exacted revenge for the deprivations of the war years. He fled to Munich, where his love of dressing up, singing and dancing set him on a career as a female impersonator.” (Obituary in The Telegraph, 17 Mar 2005)

In Munich, Schmid found success as a showgirl and shortly after started performing in the…
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