Born Elke Schletz in Berlin, Germany, on November 5, 1940, gorgeous actress Elke Sommer was the daughter of a Lutheran minister and his wife. During the middle of World War II, Sommer and her family moved to Niederndorf, some 300 miles south of Berlin. Following the end of the war, times were difficult for the Schletz family and became even worse when Sommer's father passed away in 1955. An avid student of languages, Sommer learned Greek and Latin while in school and moved to London in 1957 to work as a nanny and to become fluent in English. While on a trip to Italy with her mother in 1958, Sommer was discovered by an Italian film producer, and in a matter of months she had been cast in several films. Initially, she agreed to the film work in order to earn enough money for college, but with many film offers coming her way, she quickly decided on an acting career. Nonetheless, she continued to study languages, and her ability to speak seven languages enabled her to be cast in dozens of films produced in a number of countries.

Elke SommerElke Sommer

Cheesecake shots from the 1960s of beautiful Elke Sommer

Sommer's first starring role came in the Italian comedy Love, the Italian Way (1960; with Ugo Tognazzi and Sylva Koscina), and this film set the stage for a string of 1960s comedies starring the beautiful blond actress. Her first English language film was the British comedy Don't Bother to Knock (1961; with Richard Todd and Nicole Maurey). Sommer continued making films in France, Italy, and Germany when she was cast in the all-star war film The Victors (1963; with Vince Edwards and George Peppard), which featured a cast of internationally known actors, including Senta Berger, Melina Mercouri, Jeanne Moreau, and Romy Schneider. She then made a string of successful films, many of which were comedies, including A Shot in the Dark (1964; with Peter Sellers and George Sanders), The Art of Love (1965; with James Garner and Angie Dickinson), and Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966; with Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller). Sommer continued working on the other side of the Atlantic as well in such films as the campy crime thriller Deadlier Than the Male (1967; with Richard Johnson and Sylva Koscina). During this period in her career, she met and married writer Joe Hyams.

the films of elke sommer

Love, the Italian Way (1960)

Elke Sommer and Walter Chiari

With Walter Chiari in the sex comedy Love, the Italian Way

Why Bother to Knock (1961)

Richard Todd and Elke Sommer

With Richard Todd in the sex comedy Why Bother to Knock

The Prize (1963)

Paul Newman and Elke Sommer

From the MGM spy thriller The Prize with Paul Newman

A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Peter Sellers and Elke Sommer

With Peter Sellers in the Blake Edwards comedy A Shot in the Dark

The Money Trap (1965)

Elke Sommer and Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford plans a robbbery to keep wife Elke Sommer well funded in the MGM crime drama The Money Trap

The Dolls (1965)

Elke Sommer

From the romantic comedy The Dolls

The Oscar (1966)

Elke Sommer and Tony Bennett

With Tony Bennett in the drama The Oscar

Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966)

Marjorie Lord, Elke Sommer, and Bob HopeCesare Danova and Elke SommerKelly Thordsen, Marjorie Lord, Bob Hope, Benny Baker, Cesare Danova, and Elke Sommer

From the Bob Hope comedy Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!, released by United Artists. LEFT: With Marjorie Lord and Bob Hope. CENTER: Cesare Danova as film director Pepe Pepponi tries to convince the Divine Didi to take a bubble bath in his latest picture. RIGHT: Scene from the end of the picture, with Kelly Thordsen, Marjorie Lord, Bob Hope, Benny Baker, and Cesare Danova

Deadlier Than the Male (1967)

Sylva Koscina, Elke Sommer, and Nigel GreenElke Sommer and Sylva KoscinaElke Sommer and Sylva Koscina in Deadlier than the Male

From Universal's campy thriller Deadlier Than the Male. LEFT: With Sylva Koscina and Nigel Green. CENTER and RIGHT: With Sylva Koscina

The Corrupt Ones (1967)

Elke Sommer and Robert Stack

With Robert Stack in the crime drama The Corrupt Ones

The Venetian Affair (1967)

Elke Sommer and Robert Vaughn

From the MGM spy thriller The Venetian Affair with Robert Vaughn

The Invincible Six (1968)

Elke Sommer

From the adventure The Invincible Six, directed by Jean Negulesco

They Came to Rob Las Vegas (1968)

Elke Sommer and Gary Lockwood

Sommer and Gary Lockwood plot to rob an armored car in the crime drama They Came to Rob Las Vegas

The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968)

Elke Sommer and Bob CraneElke Sommer and Werner Klemperer

From the comedy The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, released by United Artists. LEFT: With Bob Crane and Maureen Arthur. RIGHT: With Werner Klemperer

The Wrecking Crew (1969)

Elke Sommer and Dean Martin

With Dean Martin in the Matt Helm spy spoof The Wrecking Crew, released by Columbia

Percy (1971)

Elke Sommer and Hywel Bennett

From the MGM sex comedy Percy with Hywel Bennett

Baron Blood (1972)

Elke Sommer

Elke Sommer is terrorized by the evil Baron Otto von Kleist (Joseph Cotten) in Mario Bava's effective horror flick Baron Blood

Ten Little Indians (1975)

Elke Sommer and Oliver Reed

From the Agatha Christie thriller Ten Little Indians with Oliver Reed


Elke Sommer's film career into the 1970s, while strong, saw her cast in far more B movies. And in addition to comedies, she was now cast in several horror films as well, including Mario Bava's Baron Blood (1972; with Joseph Cotten) and Mario Bava's Lisa and the Devil (1973; with Telly Savalas and Sylva Koscina), which was reedited and, with new scenes added, was released as The House of Exorcism (1976; with Robert Alda). In the late 1970s and 1980s, Sommer began working more in television on such hit shows as The Love Boat, The Six Million Dollar Man, and St. Elsewhere. Following her divorce from Hyams and marriage to entreprenuer Wolf Walther, she began focusing on other endeavors, such as her painting. Sommer has written books and hosted a PBS series centered on her artwork, which she has been exhibiting and selling for more than 40 years. Nevertheless, on occasion she tackles an acting role, often in her native Germany.

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elke sommer trailers

Watch the trailers for A Shot in the Dark (1964) and Baron Blood (1972)


Ewig rauschen die Gelder (2005)
Reblaus (2005)
Flashback - Morderische Ferien (2000)
Nicht mit uns (2000)
Doppeltes Spiel mit Anne (2000)
Alles nur Tarnung (1996)
Severed Ties (1992) with Johnny Legend, Garrett Morris, Billy Morrissette, and Oliver Reed
Himmelsheim (1989)
Death Stone (1987) with Brad Harris and Tony Kendall
Adventures Beyond Belief (1987) with Edie Adams, John Astin, Stella Stevens, and Larry Storch
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) with Amy Irving, Olivia de Havilland, Susan Lucci, Claire Bloom, Omar Sharif, Rex Harrison, and Christian Bale
Jenny's War (1985) with Dyan Cannon and Richard Todd
Lily in Love (1984) with Christopher Plummer, Maggie Smith, and Adolph Green
Death Threat (1984)
Inside the Third Reich (1982) with Rutger Hauer, John Gielgud, Maria Schell, Blythe Danner, Trevor Howard, Derek Jacobi, Viveca Lindfors, and Randy Quaid
Der Mann im Pyjama (1981)
Top of the Hill (1980) with Adrienne Barbeau, Sonny Bono, Peter Brown, Macdonald Carey, Rae Dawn Chong, Mel Ferrer, Gary Lockwood, Richard O'Brien, Paula Prentiss, and Wayne Rogers
Exit Sunset Boulevard (1980)
The Double McGuffin (1979) with Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, Lyle Alzado, Lisa Whelchel, and Vincent Spano
The Fantastic Seven (1979) with Christopher Connelly, Christopher Lloyd, Morgan Brittany, Bill Macy, Peter Haskell, and Patrick Macnee
The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) with Peter Sellers, Lynne Frederick, Lionel Jeffries, and Gregory Sierra
The Treasure Seekers (1979) with Rod Taylor, Stuart Whitman, and Keenan Wynn
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979) with Richard Jordan, Oliver Tobias, David Niven, and Gloria Grahame
I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses (1978)
Nicht von gestern (1977)
Meet Him and Die (1976) with Martin Balsam
The Swiss Conspiracy (1976) with David Janssen, Senta Berger, John Ireland, John Saxon, Ray Milland, and Anton Diffring
Invisible Strangler (1976) with Robert Foxworth, Stefanie Powers, Sue Lyon, Leslie Parrish, and Cesare Danova
One Away (1976) with Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell
Carry on Behind (1975) with Kenneth Williams
The Net (1975) with Klaus Kinski
Ten Little Indians (1974) with Adolfo Celi, Richard Attenborough, Gert Frobe, Herbert Lom, Oliver Reed, and Rik Battaglia
It's Not the Size that Counts (1974) with Leigh Lawson, Denholm Elliott, Judy Geeson, Vincent Price, Julie Ege, and Bernard Lee
One or the Other of Us (1974)
Lisa and the Devil, aka The House of Exorcism (1973) with Telly Savalas, Sylva Koscina, and Robert Alda
Die Reise nach Wien (1973)
Baron Blood (1972) with Joseph Cotten
Probe (1972) with Hugh O'Brian, John Gielgud, Burgess Meredith, Albert Popwell, and A Martinez
Perlico - Perlaco (1971) with Robert Wagner and Tina Sinatra
Zeppelin (1971) with Michael York, Anton Diffring, and Andrew Keir
Percy (1971) with Hywel Bennett, Denholm Elliott, and Britt Ekland
The Wrecking Crew (1969) with Dean Martin, Sharon Tate, Nancy Kwan, Nigel Green, Tina Louise, and John Larch
They Came to Rob Las Vegas (1968) with Gary Lockwood, Lee J. Cobb, and Jack Palance
The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968) with Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer, John Banner, and Leon Askin
The Invincible Six (1968) with Stuart Whitman, Curd Jurgens, and Ian Ogilvy
Deadlier Than the Male (1967) with Richard Johnson, Sylva Koscina, Nigel Green, Suzanna Leigh, Steve Carlson, and Virginia North
The Corrupt Ones (1967) with Robert Stack, Nancy Kwan, and Christian Marquand
The Venetian Affair (1967) with Robert Vaughn, Felicia Farr, Luciana Paluzzi, Boris Karloff, Roger C. Carmel, Edward Asner, and Wesley Lau
Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966) with Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Cesare Danova, Marjorie Lord, and Joyce Jameson
The Oscar (1966) with Stephen Boyd, Milton Berle, Eleanor Parker, Joseph Cotten, Jill St. John, Tony Bennett, Edie Adams, and Ernest Borgnine
Tausend Takte Ubermut (1965) with Peggy March
The Money Trap (1965) with Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth, Joseph Cotten, Ricardo Montalban, and James Mitchum
The Art of Love (1965) with James Garner, Dick Van Dyke, Angie Dickinson, Ethel Merman, Carl Reiner, and Roger C. Carmel
Hotel der toten Gaste (1965) with Karin Dor
The Dolls (1965) with Gina Lollobrigida and Virna Lisi
Frontier Hellcat (1964) with Stewart Granger, Pierre Brice, and Terence Hill
A Shot in the Dark (1964) with Peter Sellers, George Sanders, and Herbert Lom
Seven Tons of Gunfire (1964)
The Prize (1963) with Paul Newman, Edward G. Robinson, Diane Baker, Kevin McCarthy, and Leo G. Carroll
The Victors (1963) with Vince Edwards, Albert Finney, George Hamilton, Melina Mercouri, Jeanne Moreau, and George Peppard
Seduction by the Sea (1963) with Peter van Eyck
Who Stole the Body? (1963)
Bahia de Palma (1962)
Un chien dans un jeu de quilles (1962) with Christian Marquand
Le Chien (1962) with Alain Delon
Das Madchen und der Staatsanwalt (1962)
Sweet Ecstasy (1962) with Pierre Brice
Cafe Oriental (1962) with Jerome Courtland
The Phone Rings Every Night (1962)
Auf Wiedersehen (1961) with Gert Frobe
Geliebte Hochstaplerin (1961)
Why Bother to Knock (1961) with Richard Todd, Nicole Maurey, and Rik Battaglia
Daniella by Night (1961)
Und sowas nennt sich Leben (1961)
Howlers of the Dock (1960)
Stage Fright (1960)
Love, The Italian Way (1960) with Ugo Tognazzi, Sylva Koscina, and Massimo Serato
Himmel, Amor und Zwirn (1960)
The Warrior Empress (1960) with Kerwin Mathews and Tina Louise
The Day It Rained (1959) with Gert Frobe and Corny Collins
The Naked and the Brave (1959) with Horst Buchholz
The Jukebox Kids (1959)
L' Amico del giaguaro (1959)
La Pica sul Pacifico (1959) with Ugo Tognazzi
Uomini e nobiluomini (1959) with Vittorio De Sica

Florian III, 1994 German TV series. Sommer portrayed Sonja Carpenter

In addition, Elke Sommer has made guest appearances on such shows as St. Elsewhere, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island

elke sommer now showing

Watch Elke Sommer's 1964 comedy A Shot in the Dark
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This page premiered April 4, 2008.
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