The great poet Kahil Gibran once said, "We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting." Hollywood has never believed in waiting, and has long been a purveyor of beautiful women. But today they are a different breed. Nobody talks about starlets anymore, or casting couches, and the dumb blonde has gone the way of the dinosaur. Today's actress is serious, educated, physically fit, politically aware, couragous, ambitious, business oriented and intelligent. Yes, and she is still beautiful - like a Teutonic valkyrie from a Wagnerian opera, the 5'7" blue-eyed, blonde embodies all of these qualities as she made her first appearance in the Austrian town of Wels, under the name of Sybille Johanna Danninger.
Born under the sign of Gemini, she was the love child of a German-Dutch-American father, who had to leave for the U.S. before Sybil's birth. Sybil's Austrian mother raised her until she married a U.S. Army major, who relocated his new family to the U.S., where her sister, Dolores, was born. Sybil led a nomadic early life on various Army bases in Sacramento, Maryland, and New Jersey.
In the latter state, she attended Etontown's Star of the Sea Catholic School, which explains her bilingual ease with both English and German. Then the family moved to Germany, where her brother Donald was born.
Soon thereafter the major was relocated, Sybil's mother declined to follow when he was ordered to go to Japan. Returning to Austria, the financial situation during her mother's divorce obliged Sybil to leave school at 14 to help support the family. She took a job with her uncle in Ried im Innkreiss, as dental assistant. Sybil left home at 16 due to the strictness of the household's regulations. She moved to Vienna, where she worked in a dental supply company. After one year, Sybil relocated to Salzburg, where she was hired to assist one of Europe's top oral surgeons, Dr. Professor Franz Clementschitz. Some unnamed calling made her restless. She gave up her dental career, enrolled in the renowned Buchner School of Cosmetology in Salzburg and received her Diploma in facial treatment, decorative make-up, pedicure, manicure, and body massage. Sybil planned to open her own beauty salon, but the socialist state denied her an operating license because there were already five salons in that city. She was asked by the owner to work at the Buchner Institute as cosmetician, to book models and groom them. Soon Sybil was much sought after and much in demand for fashion shows and photo layouts full time, internationally exploiting her classic Nordic beauty!
Sybil entered the realm of cinema when a German film director insisted she play the beautiful legend figure, Lorelei, in his movie, Come, My Dear Little Bird. Her photograph posing on the infamous Lorelei Rock on the Rhine River in nothing but her long blonde tresses while luring sailors to their doom through song made her a sensation in the European press. A year after she was cast as yet another legend beauty for the film The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried, in which her portrayal of Kriemhild was far more seductive than in director Fritz Lang's 1924 treatment of the same source material.
Committed totally to acting, Sybil trained for three years with noted Munich drama coach, Annemarie Hantschke. Yet the only roles she was offered were those exploiting her considerable beauty and sex appeal. Fifteen frustrating films later, Sybil finally was given more challenging roles as no other actress so perfectly blends natural beauty with inner strength: as the bareback riding African farm girl in Whispering Death with Christopher Lee - the high-class prostitute in the cult classic Bluebeard on whom Richard Burton drops the chandelier - as the sadistic terrorist headed for Entebbe in the Best Foreign Film Oscar nominated Operation Thunderbolt with Klaus Kinski - challenging Jack Palance in the western God's Gun - as the Polish spy who defects and protects European democracy in The Salamander (based on the best selling novel by Morris West (The Shoes Of The Fisherman) which won her the "Il Premio Capo Circeo Award in Italy from L'Amicizia Italo-Germanica organization, an annual award given previously to Romy Schneider R.W. Fssbinder, etc., - the pregnant, battered wife of Ernest Borgnine in The Prince and the Pauper - or the Queen's suspicious lady (Geraldine Chaplin) in The Three and Four Musketeers (produced by Bluebeard's and Superman's producers, three decades before the similarly bifurcated Kill Bill).
Sybil’s unique radiance is recognized internationally. She flexes her talent; changing easily from Star to Character carrying dramatic weights with no sweat. Sybil does movie magic, shifting styles to avoid stereotypes. One critic declared her “very much adept as the comedienne,” as the playful kitten of French Pussycat, which was very successful on Pay TV. In a fraction of a second, she can translate and redeliver her dialogue from English to German, Italian, or French, some Hebrew and Spanish, thereby making box offices busy Internationally….including Hollywood. Sybil’s wisdom is the result of a full, young life experience; from her early labor as dental surgeon assistant; from education and degrees earned in Cosmetology and charm; from years as one of Europe’s and Japan’s top print Models; and finally, her struggle to reach international audiences as both “goddess” and actress. “My life is sensuous,” she explains, without revealing the mysteries of her soul. “A little bit of tease, of course; that goes along with having fun. Plus a little bit of toughness. My friends say I am tough, but that’s part of life. Sybil is now ready to blitzkrieg Hollywood with that special mixture of eroticism and action! Leaving everything in Europe behind, friends and family, with no contract, no agent and no idea what the future would bring, Sybil set out for Hollywood. In Hollywood Sybil was destined to dominate in roles playing strong-willed characters. Roger Ebert, the world's #1 Film Critic officially announced Sybil winner of the '82 Cannes Film Festival “Sex Symbol Award” and wrote in the Chicago Sun Times "She may be the first actress to successfully combine beauty and brute force." He also featured Sybil in his book A Kiss is Still a Kiss - Roger Ebert At the Movies. Sybil took the next major step in her world campaign to rewrite the definitions of those words “feminine” and “beauty” with her starring roles in such movies as They’re Playing With Fire and Jungle Warriors. She went on, blending both qualities with her invincible Valkyrie warrior role in the science-fantasy adventure Battle Beyond the Stars, for which her performance earned The Golden Scroll Award of Merit from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. She proves the power of her personality as “Alexandra,” the countess who reigns over the private life of Miles O’Keeffe in S.A.S MALKO“, as the skilled swordswoman who joins The Seven Magnificent Gladiators; she dares match her fantastic physique against the mighty Hercules which won her another Golden Scroll of Merit from the Academy of Science Fiction; as the haughty Queen in Amazon Women On The Moon and received enormous acclaim both with fans and box office as the first ever “blonde Queen of the Werewoves” in The Howling II. Action Heroes” Magazine compared Sybil to the likes of John Wayne and Arnold Schwarzenegger! Whether leading her own prison gang in the hit cult classic Chained Heat, using her own .44 Magnum to hijack the Queen Mary in Simon & Simon, disciplining Wendy O’Williams in Reform School Girls Sybil establishes herself as that rare breed of Star who appeals to both males and females for her equally rare combination of strength and sensuality.
In the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, Sybil bought the Spanish-style mansion Howard Hughes rented for blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow. Her constant, loving companion was Hansi, a female German Shepherd. When not on camera, Sybil devoted her considerable energy flow to maintaining that superior physique, exercising and lifting weights. She also has some training in judo and karate. By 1986, she was working two hours every day with a bodybuilder, a former Miss Ohio. Sybil also loves skiing, racquetball, tennis, hockey, horseback riding, car racing, and dancing. As a member of the Beverly Hills Gun Club, Sybil is a superb shot with a pistol, although she prefers a shotgun. Beneath the soft skin and special curves are mind and muscle. Sybil also gives time to slightly more sedate pastimes of photography, drawings, cooking (she is renowned for her spicy Austrian pork roast), jazz, and a mean game of chess (Her tutor was Albert Goodin who beat Polish champ Samuel Rezewski whose claim to fame was checkmating the 1961-63 World Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik of the U.S.S.R.)
In an age infested with sex objects, Sybil always stood tall as one bona fide Sex Symbol – the first genuine, sexy, female action star in the history of motion pictures and television. Known as “The Female Clint Eastwood” for her power as an action star, could exercise another sort of “force” in her role as physical example, evidenced by her cover and ten-page pictorial in the August 1983 PLAYBOY magazine, which christened her “Queen of the Action Flicks.” The vital factor of a Sex Symbol is Presence. Her force and form were prominently on display throughout the world with the phenomenal sales of her TWO full-color pin-up posters shot by Hollywood’s top celebrity photographer Harry Langdon. It was the first time Pro Arts Poster Company had ever chosen to simultaneously release more than one pin-up of any star! (snake bikini) (white bikini) Thereafter came her futuristic new poster by Hollywood hotshot photographer Greg Gorman that she dared sign with “Burning Love.” Fans were fascinated; Sybil had her first tailor-made action comic book SYBIL DANNING is BLACK DIAMOND, a cross between James Bond and Modesty Blaise, which spawned a quartet of comic books featuring her character's adventures. Speaking of comic characters, Sybil not once, but twice was name checked on The Simpsons. Both her face and figure on covers and front pages increased magazine and newspaper sales around the globe, as proven by Prevue, Quick, Qui, Cinema, Starburst, Neue Revue, Playboy, Toronto Sun, The New York Daily News, USA Today, L.A.Times....
Sybil remained true to her portrayal of strong characters in a variety of TV series, such as A Man Called Sloane, Vega$, Simon & Simon, Masquerade, The Fall Guy, and Street Hawk. Her spectacular role in V as “Commander Kruger” also garnered much publicity.
A new phase of Sybil's career put her behind the camera as producer of two of her own action projects she starred in, Panther Squad (for which she received the MEJOR ACTRIZ AWARD-Spain) and L. A. Bounty. She founded her own production company, Adventuress Productions, Inc., as its President and Chief Operating Officer and proceeded to Executive Produce two further features, The Covenant and To End All Wars. Sybil became a member of The Producers Guild Of America, American Federation of TV and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, American Picture Association Of America, The American Film Institute, Women In Film, and The American Police Hall Of Fame. She has supported various Organizations, Academic Istitutions and Charities such as: Children Of The Night-The Hollywood Entertainment Museum- Say No To Drugs-The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce (Hollywood Chistmas Parade, Toys For Tots et al)-The Variety Club Telethons-California State University Northridge-University Of California Irvine-City Of Hope-St.Jude Childrens Research Hospital, Los Angeles Womens Campaign Fund-Anne Douglas 'Womens Shelter,"City Lights"-and several animal rights foundatons, including Shambala Habitat, Wild Life Way Station, and Last Chance For Animals.
As President Reagan and Elvira before her, Sybil is the host of her own successful special collection of 26 action adventure movies that bear the title "SYBIL DANNING'S ADVENTURE VIDEO" for USA Home Video/Carolco/Artisan. Known for her many elaborate costumes, here too, she was outfitted to suit the various movie themes. In 1989, Sybil re-teamed with the producers of Bluebeard, The Three and Four Musketeers, and The Prince and the Pauper to play a succubus on the TV series Superboy.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, her career was dealt a doomed detour! While rehearsing a stunt in the gym for a movie, Sybil seriously injured herself while flipping a girl on her back. For the next two months she rested, while working with writers on her first screenplay-writing experience as the pain worsened. Doctors misdiagnosed her condition as either a strained muscle or damaged nerve, and prescribed painkillers and massages. Finally, a doctor recommended by Jack Nicholson discovered she had two severely herniated discs, and put her into the hospital that same afternoon. She had a series of painful epidural treatments, in which hypodermic needles were inserted between the vertebrae, followed by traction. At this point, Sybil could not walk and was bound to the bed and wheelchair. Determined to beat the problem without surgery, the pain became too overwhelming when she finally consented to a new microdissectomy technique the day after Thanksgiving, 1990. Sybil spent the following year recovering and watched the entire Gulf War from her hospital bed.
After holding a decade-long pledge not to marry, Sybil broke it by marrying German businessman, Horst Lasse. Taking on his name would prove to be difficult to adjust for Hollywood. Constant "Sybil Danning who?" replies, when calling people even who knew her, caused her to tell her husband, after many years of building her name, she would like to go back to her hard-earned name. Horst's response was he would like to take on her name. He legally changed it for both to have the same surname. That move was one of a loving, confident man! Together they acquired a Three Year Film Production Deal at Paramount Pictures. Ironically, Adventuress Productions landed 7 offices on the beautiful studio lot in the Building named after another Austrian, the famed and fabulous Director, Billy Wilder! When Horst's 80-year-old traditional hockey team in his home town of Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany where he twice became German Champion, fell into bankruptcy, he and Sybil went to the rescue. Taking three American players with them, they brought the team back to Vice Championship. Sybil fell in love like never before with the game and what she called "her boys." Sybil had broken yet another ground rule, where no woman has dared to tread, as the first ever co-boss of an all-man-territory, German traditional hockey team of 80 years!
In 2003, Sybil declared she was back in Hollywood, and back in the business! She started by making a long-awaited debut on the fan Memorabilia convention circuit, with appearances in California, Chicago, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and the New Jersey, Chiller Theatre, Show of Shows. After many years of wanting Sybil, Chiller Theatre decided to perpetuate her with footage of her first appearance in their 2004 documentary, UnConventional. Finally, she initiated her own Official Sybil Danning WebSite (sybildanning.net), through which she has just launched her own perfume, “Sybil's Secret Scent.” Sybil is writing her autobiography (Book #1,) and developing new projects she will produce and appear in.
Like Hollywood, Sybil does not believe in waiting. Superhero, or terrorist, mother or Valkyrie, saloon girl or spy, werewolf or businesswoman, and always-in true Sybil Style, she is taking things into her own hands. Sybil is back with a vengeance!