When it comes to actors, you can have your Tom Cruise and Robert Pattinson. These are pretty boys to me, not actors. Actors are Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Klaus Kinski. Who da what? you might be thinking. Unless you're a foreign film buff, you probably don't know the last name on that list. But Klaus Kinski was one of the biggest actors of the 1960s and '70s. He starred in classic films like Doctor Zhivago and Nosferatu (in which he played a vampire long before Pattinson's sparkly kind) and he had a breathtaking partnership with director Werner Herzog. Maybe you've heard of his famous daughter, Nastassja Kinski, who once posed with a snake in a sexy poster.
At any rate, Klaus had an amazing career. The kind most actors would kill for. But he was a deeply disturbed man. I knew that already from reading his biography. What I didn't know is what he neglected to say there -- that apparently he was raping his first born daughter, Pola, starting when she was 5.
Pola Kinski, who is now 60, has come out with a memoir about her life of abuse with her famous dad, who died in 1991. And she says she was inspired to write it because she was sick of people telling her how wonderful and fantastic her father was. She wanted them to know the truth -- that he wasn't so fantastic. She says:
I couldn't stand hearing it any more: 'Your father! Cool! Genius! I always loved him!' I always replied 'Yeah, yeah.' Since his death this adulation has got even worse.
Pola describes being subjected to unspeakable abuse -- and then showered with presents. She says her father paid her "to be his little sex object, placed on silk cushions." She also claims, most horrifically, that he told her it was "completely natural" for fathers and daughters to have sex and that "fathers all over the world did that to their daughters."
Pola says the abuse stopped at 19. Her famous sister, Nastassja, has come out and said that Pola is "very brave" for revealing her secret -- though she doesn't say if she herself was subjected to the same treatment.
Klaus isn't around to defend himself any longer, so we only have Pola's word on what happened. But if it's true, it's a terrible shame. Not only for what Pola had to go through -- but that a man so incredibly talented could be so horrible.
What do you think of claims of child abuse long after the parent is dead?
Image via Werner Herzog Film Produktion