During my stay as guest professor at the California State University at Long Beach in 1986/87, I also conducted interviews with many film émigrés who were expelled from Germany and Austria by the Nazis and had immigrated to the United States during the Thirties. When I learned about Fini Rudiger and her work in the Disney Studio, I was quite excited. I contacted her immediately and asked her for an interview. Although Fini Rudiger was very much surprised, she spontaneously agreed and invited me to her home in Malibu. She was then 73 years old, but very vivid, active, and charming and she told me “her whole life story in four hours” as she put it herself in the interview. She was so full of stories that the words came gushing out of her mouth and I could hardly break in with my questions. This afternoon was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with Fini and her husband Bill, who was working on an animation movie in his study during our lengthy interview. Since then, we have often met when I came back to Los Angeles for research and we have met also in Vienna, where in 1993 Fini and Bill attended a conference together with other German and Austrian film émigrés like Francis Lederer, Leon Askin and Curt Siodmak. I remember so well Fini’s and Bill’s warm sympathy for me and my family. They were always interested in my work and what we were doing, and of course both of them were full of stories about their rich life, their work, their friends. To meet and talk and especially listen to Fini and Bill Littlejohn “rubs off” as Fini would perhaps put it. It was a wonderful experience that I have known them and it still is a treasured memory for me. Therefore I am very glad that after so many years, this interview with Fini Rudiger-Littlejohn is finally published, thanks to Didier Ghez who has made it possible with his great project Walt’s People!


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