Luise Rainer dead: Actress, the first winner of consecutive Oscars, dies, aged 104

“She was bigger than life and could charm the birds out of the trees,” said her daughter

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The Independent Online

Luise Rainer has died of pneumonia, aged 104.

Her daughter, Francesca Knittel-Bowyer, confirmed the news.

"She was bigger than life and could charm the birds out of the trees," she said. "If you saw her, you'd never forget her.''

The actress was the first winner of consecutive Oscars in the Thirties – an achievement made by only five other actors, including Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards and Tom Hanks.

She won Academy Awards for her role in The Great Ziegfield, in which she famously wept as she congratulated her former husband on his marriage, and also for her performance in drama-romance The Good Earth.

Rainer clashed with MGM over creative freedom and split from the company.

"I was a machine, practically - a tool in a big, big factory, and I could not do anything. And so I left. I just went away. I fled. Yes, I fled," she once said.

She lived in London and made occasional appearances on film and television. Rainer most recently acted alongside Michael Gambon and Dominic West in 1998 film The Gambler.

She was married twice and had one child.