1924 - 2005

Jeanette Schmid was born November 6, 1924 in the Volary, currently a part of the Czech Republic. Although she was assigned male at birth, at an early age Schmid loved to sing, dance, and dress in feminine clothing. Though Schmid clearly did not fit into the Nazi ideal, at 17 she enlisted in the German armed forces and was posted to Italy where she was soon pleased to be “saved from service” due to typhoid fever. Postwar, the Czechs retaliated against Sudeten Germans and Schmid fled to Munich where she began working as a female impersonator, achieving fame with a combination of talent, racy material, and risque outfits. In Hamburg, her act was seen by the Shah of Iran and Queen Soraya. The couple invited her to Tehran, even though her material and costumes were considered inappropriate for the Persian palace. Frantic and forced to devise a new routine, instead of her usual bawdy song and dance, Schmid whistled a Strauss polka and Offenbach’s Barcarole to great success. Afterwards, Schmid toured the world as a cross-dressing whistler, and even performed on stage with Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, and Marlene Dietrich, thrilling audiences by hitting a high C. In 1964, Schmid underwent gender confirmation surgery in Cairo where she had been living for fifteen years. Afterwards, Jeanette moved to Vienna, whistling capital of the world, where she performed in cafes and theaters. In the 1980s, she was rediscovered by director Andre Heller who reintroduced her into show business in Andre Heller’s Wonderhouse under the stage name Baroness Lips von Lipstrill. The show toured Europe and even reached Broadway in 1991. In 2004, Schmid was awarded the Austrian Decoration of Merit in Gold, the same year she released her autobiography. When asked when she planned to stop performing, Schmid replied, “I’ll whistle my way through life until I drop dead.” Schmid died of the flu in Vienna on March 9, 2005 at the age of 80.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Unknown

Gender Identity Transgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated Czechia Italy Germany Egypt Austria United States

Era/Epoch Information Age (1970-present) World War II (1939-1945)

Field(s) of Contribution

Art, Music, Literature & Theater






World History

Commemorations & Honors

Austrian Decoration of Merit in Gold Awardee (2004)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Allo Kerstein
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell