Palmer, Lilli

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PALMER, LILLI (1914–1986), actress-writer. Born Lillie Marie Peiser to surgeon Dr. Alfred Peiser and actress Rose (née Lissmann) in Posen, East Prussia (now Poland), Palmer was educated at the Ilka Gruening School of Acting in Berlin. She made her first stage appearance in 1932 in Die Eiserne Jungfrau. She left Germany after Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933 and began performing at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. In 1935, Palmer moved to England, where she made her screen debut in Crime Unlimited (1935) and appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent (1936); she made her London stage debut in Road to Gadahar (1938). Palmer met actor Rex Harrison in 1939, and performed with him in the 1940 play No Time for Comedy. Palmer and Harrison married in 1943, and had one son, Carey, who became a playwright. They moved to the United States together. Palmer starred in such films as Cloak and Dagger (1946) and Body and Soul (1947). The couple appeared together on Broadway and in the film The Four Poster (1952). Palmer and Harrison returned to England and divorced in 1957. Soon after, she married novelist Carlos Thompson. Her film and television career continued both in America and abroad, which included The Diary of Anne Frank (1967) and The Boys from Brazil (1978). Toward the end of her life, Palmer wrote her autobiography, Change Lobsters, and Dance (1976), which centered on her 17-year relationship with Harrison. She also wrote the novels Red Raven (1978), Time to Embrace (1980), Night Music (1983), and Face Value (1986).

[Adam Wills (2nd ed.)]

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Palmer, Lilli

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