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
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.
Grandmother, 52, celebrates Halloween with her ‘family’ of 200 dolls that she believes are possessed by the spirits of dead children
There’s never a doll moment in Sue King’s household at Halloween … especially in the dead of night.
For that’s when her collection of porcelain playthings come alive with the mischievous souls of deceased children, she claims.
The 52-year-old grandmother, from Toledo, Ohio, has amassed 200 dolls in three years, and believes each one is haunted by the spirit of a dead youngster.
'It might sound creepy,’ she says, 'but I genuinely believe that my dolls have been possessed by the ghosts of children who have passed away.'
So instead of bobbing apples and trick-or-treating tonight, Sue will be dressing up her porcelein babies in costumes of the undead while keeping an eye out for their pranks.
Never a doll moment: Instead of bobbing apples and trick-or-treating, Sue King, 52, from Toledo, Ohio, will be doting on her porcelain dolls - who she believes are haunted by the spirits of dead children
'They’re really naughty and are always playing tricks on me,’ she said. 'The radio will come on in the middle of the night, or the oven will switch off while I’m cooking.
'Once, when I was doing the washing up in the kitchen, all the cupboards flew open and then I heard a tiny giggle from another room.
'On another occasion, one of them bit me in the shower.
'It’s hard to stay angry at them though, because I love them so much.'
She says it’s her supernatural instinct that has brought her closer to the figurines - who she says she loves just as much as her eight real-life grandchildren.