Born Karoline Blamauer in Vienna in 1898, Lenya spent an impoverished childhood there before launching her career in Zurich and then Berlin, where she met and married Weill. The toast of the Berlin arts scene, Weill and Lenya left Germany in 1933 following the election of Hitler as chancellor. Weill was Jewish and an advocate of freedom of expression--his play Der Silbersee ("The Silver Lake"), which contained a caricature of Hitler, had already been banned by the authorities. The couple went to Paris, and then, when the threat of war in Europe became imminent, to the United States, where they both enjoyed highly successful careers on Broadway. Weill died suddenly in 1950, but Lenya carried on, tirelessly reinterpreting his and others' work; appearing onstage and onscreen (most memorably as Rosa Klebb in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love), until well into later life. She died at the age of 83 in 1981.