Pola Negri was a Polish film actress who achieved worlwide fame as a femme fatale in silent films between 1910s and 1930s.
Born Barbara Apolonia Cha?upiec according to her birth record and autobiography on January 3, 1897 in Lipno, Vistula Land, as an only child in a poor family, her mother had to make a living alone after Cha?upiec’s father was arrested by the Russians and sent to Siberia. Her father, Juraj Cha?upiec, was a Slovak immigrant tinsmith.
In 1902, both moved to Warsaw, where they lived in extreme poverty. She trained as a dancer at the Ballet School in Warsaw and performed there until tuberculosis forced her to stop dancing.
During her movie career, she was also touted as an accomplished organist, and at least one extant photograph shows her apparently performing on a two manual pipe organ, but this may have been merely publicity, as her family’s extreme poverty would seem to argue against her studying with any well-known organist.