Elke Sommer was born as Elke Baronesse von Schletz on 5 November 1940, in Berlin, Germany, to Renata and Baron Peter von Schletz, a Lutheran minister. She is a German actress, entertainer and artist who has starred in a number of Hollywood films.
A noted actress, how wealthy is Elke Sommer? According to sources, Sommer has established a net worth of over $20 million, as of mid-2017. Her wealth has been earned during her acting career, as well as through her involvement in music and art, which began in the 1950s.
Elke Sommer Net Worth $20 million
In 1942 during World War II, Sommer’s family was forced to to leave Berlin, and moved to Erlangen in the southern Germany, where she attended Gymnasium. However, her father’s death during her teenage years interrupted her high school education, and she then went to London, England, to work as a nanny. Upon returning to Erlangen, she enrolled at the University of Erlangen, planning to become a diplomatic translator, but she soon changed her mind, choosing a career in modeling instead. She went on to win a beauty title while on vacation in Italy, where she was spotted by the acclaimed actor/director Vittorio De Sica. Her acting career and real net worth was launched.
After appearing in several Italian features, such as “Men and Noblemen” and “Love, the Italian Way”, Sommer started to make a name for herself in German films too, becoming a noted sex symbol, which paved her way to Hollywood in the early 1960s; her net worth began to increase. By the end of the decade she had established herself as a recognized figure in the industry, with leading parts in films such as “A Shot in the Dark”, “The Art of Love”, “The Oscar”, “Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!”, “Deadlier Than the Male” and “The Wrecking Crew”. Her performance in the film “The Prize” earned her a Golden Globe award as Most Promising Newcomer Actress. Sommer’s popularity was cemented by posing for Playboy Magazine – all contributed to her wealth.
Sommer was a popular talk show guest in the ’70s, appearing on shows such as “The Mike Douglas Show”, “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and “The Merv Griffin Show, Dinah!”. Her notable film parts of this time included “Zeppelin”, “The Swiss Conspiracy”, “The Prisoner of Zelda” and “Carry On Behind”, becoming the “Carry On” films’s highest-paid performer earning £30,000. Her net worth was boosted.
Work continued to flow in steadily for Sommer during the ’80s as well, mostly the work in television. She landed guest appearances in series such as “The Love Boat” and “St. Elsewhere”, and also appeared in the miniseries “Inside the Third Reich”, “Jenny’s War”, “Peter the Great” and “Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna”, further expanding her fortune.
The ’80 saw her hosting the syndicated show called “Elke Sommer’s World of Speed and Beauty”, dealing with motor sports. During this time Sommer also appeared as a cabaret singer, releasing several albums. She also gained some stage experience, so her wealth grew larger.
Sommer has since focused on her art work, which has involved book writing and painting. She hosted the show “Painting with Elke Sommer” centered on her artwork. Her involvement in art has been another source of Sommer’s net worth.
As for her acting career, she has made a few more screen appearances, mostly on German television.
In her personal life, Sommer has been married twice. Her first marriage was to American writer Joe Hyams, lasting from 1964 to 1981. As of 1993, she has been married to hotelier Wolf Walther. Sommer was involved in a long legal battle with actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and her husband, Prince Frederick von Anhalt in the ’90s. Reportedly, the couple made derogatory statements about her in the German media, after which she sued them, eventually gaining a $3.3 million libel judgment against them, which greatly improved her fortune.
She was nominated for a 1975 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Guest Artist for her performance in the play, "Born Yesterday", at the Drury Lane Theatre North in Chicago, Illinois.
She's the daughter of a Lutheran minister, who died when she was only 14.
Currently lives in Los Angeles, California, and works as a painter, mostly influenced by Marc Chagall.
After becoming "Miss Viareggio" during a holiday in Italy, she was discovered by director Vittorio De Sica (1958).
When she appeared in Carry on Behind (1975), she received £30,000. She became one of the only two actors in the films (with Phil Silvers) to receive the highest ever Carry On salary. Kenneth Williams only received £5,000, a sixth of what she received.
Hosted the 1981 Miss Universe pageant along with Bob Barker.
 I was in New York City starring in "Tamara" and had to stay there for four months. So I had to find an apartment but they were excruciatingly expensive, tiny and loud. As I knew the managing director of the Essex House, I wanted to talk to him about renting a room but the hotel had a new managing director, a man by the name of Wolf Walther. So we met. For him, it was love at first sight. For me, it took a little longer, but not much longer. As you may know, "Tamara" is a play, in which the audience follows the actor of their choice, and as you may also know, my husband is 6'5" and hard to miss. I saw him every night in the audience, following me. Every night. And that was the beginning of the greatest love story of my life, still unfolding and getting better by the day.
[on Oliver Reed] Ollie is a real character. But the English are all a little crazy, anyhow. Everybody has their little idiosyncrasies; Ollie just has more than most people. Off the set, he's very unpredictable. But on the set, he's fine. When he's working, he shows up on time and is very disciplined -- regardless of what happened to him the night before.
[on Mario Bava] I loved Bava with all my heart. He was everything to me -- a father figure, a lover figure. He was very quiet -- as quiet as Italians can be -- but he had incredible energy. He spoke very broken English, so we always conversed in Italian. His son Lamberto [Lamberto Bava] was the assistant director and he loyally followed all of 'Papa's' instructions. Bava was quite a patriarch among the whole group of actors and technicians.
I have no recollection of the 1960s or 1970s at all because I was working constantly. I had no time to live, or to evaluate my career, or even to speculate about what was going to become of me.
[on her painting] I'd rather be known as a painter who acts than as an actress who paints.
I've had a wonderful career. I've made all kinds of films and played everything from a hooker to a nun. I know I've become quite a fine actress through my stage work and taking my job seriously -- and just living longer.