Pola Negri (1894 - 1987)
The Polish-born American actress started as a ballerina at the Imperial Ballet Academy of Warsaw before an illness would end her dancing career. Soon she established herself as a successful stage actress and made her film début in 1914. In 1918, she met German director, Ernst Lubitsch, with whom she much collaborated before moving to Hollywood, in 1921, where she signed a contract with Paramount, becoming the first imported European star. The 'femme fatale' officially retired in the 1940s after she had become an important icon of cinema's golden era. Pola Negri was also an undeniable trendsetter, popularizing red toenails, turbans and fur boots; she also was very talented in earning publicity: for her last press conference, in 1964, she entered the room with a frisky cheetah on a leash.