A star, it was often stated, of international renown, the deliberately enigmatic Sari Maritza had gained her first notoriety performing a lurid tango with Charles Chaplin at the 1931 London premiere of City Lights. It was widely assumed that she was to become the comedian's newest leading lady, onscreen as well as off, but their ways soon parted. Instead, she starred in several low-budget British productions and enjoyed some success opposite Germany's Hans Albers in UFA's Monte Carlo Madness (1932). Arriving in Hollywood under contract to Paramount soon after, Maritza explained that her last name was derived from the operetta The Countess Maritza.In reality, she was Dora Patricia Deering-Nathan, the daughter of a British industrialist and his Viennese wife. She had apparently played up her Austrian background to the point where British filmmakers begged her to "lose the accent." "I 'learned' to speak perfect English in a week and was considered a very clever girl," she later admitted. Paramount rather obviously saw another Marlene Dietrich in the newcomer and attempted to hide her true ancestry. Unfortunately, Forgotten Commandments (1932), in which she plays a rather ridiculous femme fatale and a failure of some magnitude, made all the secrecy moot, and she was later completely upstaged by W.C. Fields (and who wouldn't be?) and real-life social butterfly Peggy Hopkins Joyce in the anarchic International House (1933), her only film with any lasting impact. Maritza married MGM producer Sam Katz in October of 1934 and later that year appeared in her final film, Mascot's Crimson Romance, in which she played a Red Cross nurse struggling through a very low-budget version of WWI. Her co-star in this odd melodrama was none other than silent screen maestro Erich Von Stroheim, who later confessed to have accepted the part "in order to bring home the shekels -- and there were very few at that."Sari Maritza once rather candidly told a reporter that she couldn't act. None of her surviving films contradicts that statement although she seems to have been a colorful personality offscreen, typical of the many Continental "vamps" struggling in the slipstream from Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. But she always fought the label of "mystery woman," explaining, "There is no use trying to be something you aren't." Perhaps she should have stayed Patricia Nathan.