A portrait of Lili by her wife Gelda.

Could this be Eddie Redmayne’s most challenging role? Staggering story of the first transgender woman who Oscar winner will play in new movie

  • Einar Mogens Wegener was born a boy in Denmark in 1882
  • After marrying, artist Einar called himself Lili and dressed as a woman
  • In 1930, he underwent the first gender reassignment surgery
  • Actor Eddie Redmayne is now set to play her in a new Hollywood biopic

  • Eddie Redmayne has become the darling of Hollywood with his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, and now the actor is preparing to take on another challenging role - that of Lili Elbe. The Oscar-winner is reportedly already losing weight to play the Danish painter born Einar Wegener who, with the support of his wife, fellow artist Gerda Gottlieb, first started living as a woman and finally became one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1930s.Directed by Tom Hooper, the film will explore the extraordinary life of a figure who risked her reputation, marriage and finally her life to be the person she felt she should be.
  • Lili was born Einar Mogens Wegener in Denmark in 1882 and in his late teens attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, where he met fellow artist Gerda Gottlieb. The couple bonded over their love of illustration and dated for a few years, before going on to marry in 1904, when he was 22.The couple travelled in Europe extensively and made their income by working as illustrators and painters for magazines and books, with Wegener living as a man.As a landscape artist, he earned Denmark’s Neuhausens prize in 1907 and exhibited at Kunstnernes Efteraarsudstilling (the Artists Fall Exhibition) in addition to the Vejle Art Museum and in the Saloon and Salon d’Automme in Paris.
  • But in his mid-20s, the couple made a discovery that would change the rest of their lives.Gerda needed a woman to pose for a series of illustrations but her model had failed to turn up - instead her  husband did the honours and donned a pair of stockings and heels so his legs could substitute for a female’s.Gerda was famous for her paintings of well-dressed, fashionable women with almond-shaped eyes but until 1913, no one knew that the dark-haired beauty regularly depicted in her work was her husband. It was the moment Wegener realised that he felt particularly comfortable in women’s clothing and started to develop his female persona, who he called Lili. Soon the artist spent found himself spending more time as Lili than as Einar and she spent less and less time paying attention to her art.  According to Lili Elbe’s biography, Man Into Woman, edited by Niels Hoyer - a friend of the Wegeners writing under a pseudonym - for a few years Einar only dressed as Lili when Gerda was desperate for a model. But as Lili began to dress more regularly as a woman, the couple decided to settle in Paris, where it was more accepted.During the 1920s and Lili openly attended events in the French capital dressed as a woman, pretending to be Einar’s sister.More people became learned about the Wegeners’ secret and she and Gerda became known for their raucous dinner parties among the arty set. 
  • Slowly, Einar began to feel himself dying, and he realised that Lili was taking him over. And unable to be content with this existence, and convinced he had a naturally female body, Lili met Dr Warnekros of the Dresden Municipal Women’s Clinic, who, according to the biography, immediately understood Einar’s problem.She  moved out of the home she shared with Gerda and contacted surgeons about attempting gender reassignment surgery.In 1930, she travelled to Berlin in Germany to have the surgery - something that was completely new at the time.
  •  Between 1930 and 1931, Lili had five operations to transition into a woman, under the supervision of the eminent German sexual psychiatrist, Dr Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin.First her testicles were removed, followed by a second op to remove the penis and to transplant ovaries taken from a 26-year-old woman into her body.Unfortunately the body rejected the ovaries and they had to be removed in a third operation, with other corrective surgeries taking place in the fourth and fifth operations. During the operations doctors discovered that Lili had rudimentary ovaries herself, proving that she was intersex - when people have sex characteristics of both male and females, so can’t be distinctly classified as one or the other.  After her first surgeries she considered herself to be a different person to Einar so Gerda, with Lili’s blessing, petitioned the King of Denmark to dissolve their marriage, arguing that the marriage had held Gerda back for too long.And in 1930, the King of Denmark announced the annulment and issued Lil with a passport under her new identity.
  • Yet her greatest wish was to bear her own children and she underwent risky surgery to transplant a uterus in 1931.But after complications following the radical and highly experimental operation, Lili passed away two days later, before her 50th birthday.
    Her ex-wife Gerda went on to re-marry, to an Italian military officer called Major Fernando “Nando” Porta, but the marriage wasn’t to last and they divorced after just a few years. Gerda passed away as a single woman in 1940. 
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Rickman among UK actors that threaten strike

The cream of British acting talent has threatened to bring the film industry to a standstill in a row over pay.

John Thaw, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters and Oscar-winner Vanessa Red-grave head a list of more than 200 stars who say they are prepared to strike.

They want British actors to be given a share of the proceeds whenever a film they appear in is shown on television or sold on video - as already happens in the United States.

Rickman - who starred in the blockbusters Die Hard and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves - said it was a ‘disgrace’ that actors were paid a flat fee whenever a film transferred to TV, video or DVD.

In the US, actors can find themselves tens of thousands of pounds better off if a film is a success, because they receive a share of the sales.

British actors have not received a penny, other than their original flat fee.

Rickman compared film producers to large drugs companies who refused to pass on profits to help Aids charities. 'Something has to be done about it. It’s an absolute disgrace,’ he said.

Other stars backing the threat include Greta Scacchi, Charles Dance, Diana Rigg, David Suchet, Richard Wilson, Robbie Coltrane and Kathy Burke.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-49960/UK-actors-threaten-strike.html#ixzz1V54Lr8jX

Italy’s Mount Etna is spewing lava and gas in its first big eruption in 2013. It is one of the most active in the world, and is Europe’s tallest active volcano, currently standing about 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high.  Mt Etna has been “simmering” for 10 months, but on February 19, the famous volcano came to life, providing dramatic visuals.

Image from the dailymail.co.uk