From characters in movies, novels, plays, and comics - to poems, songs, art, design, and fashion - Louise Brooks has been the subject of dozens of homages over the years. Perhaps no silent film star - and few actors or actresses of today - have recieved so many artistic tributes.
This section of the Louise Brooks Society attempts to document the many artistic and cultural references to the actress. Such instances are organized chronologically within their respective genre. Explanitory material (including additional references, illustrations, links and bibliographical information) are offered; click on the "read more" link which follow individual entries. Please note: As this section of the LBS is still in development - some of the tributes are not yet linked to a supporting page.
An annotated tribute-ography (a bibliography of tribute material) has also been created. This tribute-ography cites primary source material. Two additional bibliographies gathering secondary material (such as reviews or articles related to primary works) are given in the Tribute Bibliography (part 1 - through 1989) and Tribute Bibliography (part 2 - since 1990).
Use the following links to navigate this page.
Despite the brief career, Louise Brooks has had a lasting impact on cinema. A handful of characters in films have been modelled after the actress - and she is referenced in a number of other movies. Here are some examples.
--- The image of Louise Brooks reportedly appears in a newspaper in the comedy Ten Years Old (1927). Can anyone confirm this appearance ?
--- In Dangerous Female (1931), the first film version of The Maltese Falcon, Louise Brooks is pictured as Sam Spade's girlfriend; a photograph of Brooks is prominently displayed in the Spade's apartment.
--- A photograph of Brooks is also displayed in Zouzou (1934), a French production starring Josephine Baker. Brooks' picture is seen in the office of a theater manager. [ Interestingly, Louis Née, a cinematographer involved in the production of Zouzou also worked on the Brooks film Prix de beauté (1930). ]
--- The character played by Cyd Charisse in Singin in the Rain (1952) is modelled after Brooks.
--- Anna Karina's characters in Jean Luc Godard's Une Femme est une Femme (1961) and Vivre sa Vie (1962) are modelled after Brooks.
--- Melanie Griffith, who plays a character named Lulu in Something Wild (1986), is also modelled after Brooks. (read more)
--- Paul Auster's film, Lulu on the Bridge (1998), features a character (played by Maria Sorvino) who is acting in a remake of Pandora's Box. (read more)
--- Before her death, Kathleen Tynan, the wife of critic Kenneth Tynan, wrote a screenplay based on letters between Kenneth Tynan and Louise Brooks; actress Shirley MacLaine has long expressed interest in playing Brooks - while Martin Scorsese has been mentioned as a possible director; this film has not been made.
Louise Brooks has turned up as a character in a number of novels, and a handful of poems have been written about or inspired by the actress. Brooks has also been the subject of essays and comments by a few well known literary writers. Here are some examples.
--- The character of Faustine in the 1940 novel La invencion de Morel (The Invention of Morel), by Adolfo Bioy Casares, was inspired by Brooks. The actress is also mentioned in the Argentine writer's memoirs. (read more)
--- Frank O'Hara wrote a poem titled "F.Y.I. (PRIX DE BEAUTE)" (1961).
--- Another poet associated with the "New York School," Bill Berkson, also wrote a poem inspired by Louise Brooks. "Bubbles" (early 1960's), is collage poem based on an article by the actress. (read more)
--- The acclaimed French / Morrocan novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun wrote a poem about Brooks titled "The Touch of a Glance"
--- A poem by Andre Laude entitled "Song of Lulu" is included in Louise Brooks: Portrait of an Anti-Star
--- A Louise Brooks-like character appears on the cover of Gods of Riverworld (1983), a science fiction novel by Philip Jose Farmer.
--- Brooks is the subject of an essay in Angela Carter's Nothing Sacred: Selected Writings (1985); "For, should I ever have a daughter, I would call her, not Simone, nor even Rosa, but Lulu..."
--- Louise Brooks is mentioned in Paul Auster's novel Leviathan (1992).
--- In Kim Newman's horror novel Anno Dracula (1992), there is a character named Lulu whose physical characteristics are modelled after Brooks.
--- John Updike's review / essay about Louise Brooks appears in Hugging the Shore (1993).
--- A novel by the French author Patrick Mosconi is titled Louise Brooks Est Morte (1993).
--- Louise Brooks is a minor character in William Hjortsberg's novel Nevermore (1994), which is set during the Jazz Age; Brooks appears on the cover of the English edition of the book.
--- A horror novel by the Canadian writer Nancy Baker, Kiss of the Vampire (1995), features a Brooks-like character.
--- August Kleinzahler's poem "Watching Young Couples with an Old Girlfriend On Sunday Morning" (1997) alludes to Louise Brooks. (read more)
--- The Brazilian writer Alexandre Santos Lobão included a character based on Brooks in his novel A Caixa de Pandora.
--- Louise Brooks has been referenced or written about by a number of prominent writers including Christopher Isherwood, Carl Sandburg, Clive Barker, Guillermo Cabrera Infante and even Robert Howard (author of Conan the Barbarian).
---- Louise in Love (2001), a book of related poems by the acclaimed contemporary poet Mary Jo Bang, was inspired by Brooks.
--- Here is a gallery of contemporary book covers featuring Louise Brooks.
DRAMA - THE THEATER
Louise Brooks remarkable personality has inspired a number of stage plays and works of musical theater - one of which, Show Girl, became a long-running hit.
--- Louise Brooks was likely the inspiration behind J.P. McEvoy's 1928 stage play, Show Girl.
--- Brooks is the inspiration for the lead character in Kathy Acker's play, Lulu Unchained. (circa 1980's)
--- Yours, Lulu: Broadway to Berlin, by Charles Geyer, Pamela Shafer and John Moser, is based on the life of Louise Brooks; this play was staged in New York and Los Angeles in late 1993 and early 1994.
--- Emphysema, by Janet Musil, a play based on the relationship of Louise Brooks and Kenneth Tynan, was produced in Canada and England.
--- Louise Brooks is the main character in a play called Jazz Age Musical, which was performed in Switzerland in 1999.
--- A work of musical theater called Elle ! Louise Brooks was performed by Hanna Schygulla in Italy and France in 2000.
Louise Brooks has found a number of admirers in the field of popular music - especially rock and pop. There is also, reportedly, an opera in the works. Here are some examples of musical tributes to Louise Brooks..
--- It's not known that "Louise," a popular 1929 song sung by Maurice Chevalier, was about Louise Brooks - but we like it a lot anyways! (read more)
--- The lyrics of "I'm a Real-Life Doll," from a stage show called Footlight Fancies (1931), mentions Louise Brooks. (read more)
--- The progressive Italian rock band Devil Doll included Louise Brooks on the "theater cover" version of their record Eliogabablus; the actress is reportedly among the forty individuals who have influenced band member Mr. Doctor.
--- The avant-jazz trio of John Zorn, George Lewis and Bill Frisell recorded News for Lulu (1990) and More News for Lulu (1992); Brooks appears on the cover of each compact disc. (read more)
--- The English rock band OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) recorded a tribute to Louise Brooks called "Pandora's Box (It's a long, long way)" (1991); Brooks appears on the cover of the cd and lp and is pictured in the video based on the song. (read more)
--- Australian singer Jen Anderson recorded "Lulu - The Song," which appears on Pandora's Box: The Sountrack (1993); Louise Brooks appears on the cover of the cd. (read more)
--- The ClubFoot Orchestra performs their original musical accompaniment to Pandora's Box in cities around the United States; this soundtrack has yet to be released commercially.
--- The blues/rock/folk/jazz/pop band called "My Louise" named themselves after Louise Brooks; the band - formed in 1997 - hails from Bridgeton, New Jersey.
--- A 1998 video from country music star Lorrie Morgan for her song "Go Away" features the popular singer dressed as several movie stars - including Louise Brooks; Morgan is dressed a'la the Eugene Richie Pearls picture, and strikes that classic pose at the end of the video; this image was also reproduced in a calendar feating the singer
--- Lady Godiva, a French rock band, released an album titled Louise Brooks Avenue.
--- In 1992, Timelock, a Dutch rock band, released an album titled Louise Brooks which featured a song of the same name. In 2003, the band released an album called Circle of Deception which included the song "Louise Brooks Revisited." More on the group can be found here.
--- Soul Coughing has recorded "St. Louise is Listening," which appeared on their 1998 release, El Oso, on Slash/Warner
---In 1999, The Subterraneans recorded a 70th anniversary soundtrack for the Louise Brooks movie Pandora’s Box.
THE VISUAL ARTS
During her lifetime, Louise Brooks was photographed by many notable photographers including Edward Steichen, Nickolas Muray, James Abbe, Horst P. Horst and others. Her image was also captured by a handful of well known illustrators and artists. Here are some examples.
--- Famed pin-up illustrator Alberto Vargas painted a portrait of Louise Brooks for Florenz Ziegfeld in the mid-1920's. (read more)
--- Was Rene Magritte's painting The Bather inspired by Louise Brooks ?
--- The face of Louise Brooks' is prominently included as an element in the 1929 photomontage, "Profil en face," by Herbert Bayer - an artist associated with the Bauhaus. (read more)
--- A few images of Brooks are included in Don Bachardy's book of drawings, Stars in My Eyes.
--- Famed caricaturist David Levine drew a likeness of Brooks which appeared in the New York Review of Books.
--- There have been many other artistic renderings of Louise Brooks, including a caricature by Ralph Barton. (read more)
--- This contemporary work inspired by Brooks is represented online. (read more)
COMICS STRIPS & CARTOONS
Perhaps because of her visual appeal, Louise Brooks has long been a favorite of cartoonists, comic strip artists and graphic novelists. The first comic strip inspired by the actress appeared in the late 1920's. Since then, a handful of other works based on Brooks have appeared in the United States and in Europe. In 1998, the Republic of San Marino issued a postage stamp bearing the likeness of Valentina, the Brooks-inspired cartoon character created by Guido Crepax.
--- The showgirl storyline and early look of "Dixie Dugan," a long-running syndicated comic strip, was based on Louise Brooks.
--- The Valentina character in the "Valentina" comix, by the Italian Guido Crepax, were based on Brooks; the Valentina Homepage from Italy contains a handful of Brooks-inspired images.
--- Louise Brooks was also the inspiration behind cartoons by the European Hugo Pratt.
--- Louise Brooks has been the subject of a good deal of fan-art, some of which are cartoons and comic strips.
THE WORLD OF FASHION
The image of Louise Brooks' has also left its mark on the world of fashion. Designers have created fashions inspired the actress, while various film personalities have, at times, fashioned their own look after the actress.
--- This Christian Dior advertisement, which appeared in 1998, is a take off of the famous 1928 Eugene Richie photograph of Brooks posing with a string of pearls. (read more)
--- A number of actresses - such as Juliette Binoche, and singers - such as Madonna, have at various times based their look on Louise Brooks. (read more)
The image and aura of Louise Brooks has filtered through various aspects of contemporary culture. Individuals have modelled their personas after Brooks. In particular, the character of Lulu - as femme fatale - continues to resonate in the public consciousness. Here are some examples.
--- The contemporary dominatrix "Mistress Lulu" draws her look from Louise Brooks. (read more)