Sonja (Henie) Onstad

Sonja (Henie) Onstad (1912 - 1969)

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Sonja Onstad formerly Henie aka Topping, Gardiner
Born in Kristiania, Oslo, Norwaymap
Sister of
Wife of — married (to ) [location unknown]
Wife of — married (to ) [location unknown]
Wife of — married [location unknown]
Died in On flight from Paris to Oslomap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Nov 2014
This page has been accessed 2,306 times.

Categories: 1924 Winter Olympics, Chamonix | 1928 Winter Olympics, St Moritz | 1932 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid | 1936 Winter Olympics, Garmisch-Partenkirchen | Olympians Representing Norway | Gold Medalists, 1928 Winter Olympics | Gold Medalists, 1932 Winter Olympics | Gold Medalists, 1936 Winter Olympics | Figure Skating | World Figure Skating Hall of Fame | Examples Gallery | Norway Project | Notables.

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Contents

Biography

Sonja Henie was a Norwegian figure skater and film star.[1][2][3][4]

Family

Sonja Henie was born to Wilhelm and Selma Henie during a snowstorm, April 8th, 1912 in Kristiana, Norway.[2][3] She was their second child, the elder being a son named Leif.[2] Sonja captured her family's heart.[2] Her first memory was a desire to ice skate.[2]

Sonja came from a fortunate family, her father an experienced businessman.[2][3] He was also a world champion track cycler and accomplished speed skater.[2] While her father was an outgoing athlete, Sonja's mother Selma was the opposite, an introvert with no interest in competition and sport.[2] Her parents started her in classical ballet, thinking her too young to skate, until she found an old pair of her father's skates (or she was given a pair-several stories are told) which she proceeded to learn in, sometime between age five and seven.[2][5] She won her first ice skating competition not long after.[2]

Sonja had many suitors during her years acting.[2] She married three times. Her first husband was Daniel Reid Topping in 1940, a co-owner of the New York Yankees and millionaire.[2][3][5] Her second marriage was to Winthrop Gardiner Jr, owner of Gardiners Island.[2][3][5] Her final marriage was to Niels Onstad, a childhood friend.[2][3][5]

Figure Skater

Sonja was the first ice princess.[2] Though there were well known ice skaters before her, she was the first to capture the attention and hearts of those who watched her, setting a precedent for later figures like Peggy Fleming, Tara Lipinsky, and Nancy Kerrigan.[2] She practiced tirelessly with the best instructors, following strict a strict diet and working hard to blend her dancing instruction with what she was learning on the ice.[2][5] She also set the stage for improving the costume skaters were wearing in competition, moving from baggy clothes to beautiful velvet and silk, wowing audiences.[2][5] The costume change opened up a new world of tricks formerly only seen in men's routines.[2] She was the first to wear and insist on white skates for women skaters.[2]

Her first Olympics was in 1924 at Chamonix.[3][5][4] She finished last.[4] At the age of 14, she started her streak as a ten-time World Champion (1927–1936) and a six-time European Champion (1931–1936).[2][3][5][4] During that same era, she was a three-time Olympic Champion (1928, 1932, 1936) in Ladies' Singles.[2][3][5][4] Henie won more consecutive Olympic and World titles than any other ladies' figure skater.[4]

She was referred to lovingly as the "Nasturtium of the North", "The Ice Queen of Norway", "the White Swan", and less lovely, "Little Miss Moneybags".[2] She retired from competitive skating in 1936, but she had plans.[2][3]

Actress

Sonja went directly from ice skating into a very profitable acting career, making somewhere between $200,000-$500,000 her first year.[2][5] She connected with Arthur Wirtz, who envisioned her filling stadiums full of people with her ice skating shows.[2][5] She signed a touring contract and after a test run at Madison Square Garden, put together her ideal show which booked audiences across the country.[2] Following a show in Hollywood, she signed with Twentieth Century Fox.[2][5] Most of her films were feel-good with silly plots that enabled her to work her skating into the film.[2] They helped a world dealing with the dark days of World War II feel better, and made her a star.[2]

With the death of her father in 1937, Sonja became very watchful over her money, including the expenditures on the productions she was in.[2] At the height of her acting career she was one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. She combined her ice skating prowess with her movies, and attracted people to performances, touring the country with ice shows while her movies were in theaters.[2] The combination made her millions.[2] She was known for her expensive taste and lavish parties.[2]

Legacy

Sonja and Niels left a lasting legacy apart from all the precedents she set in female figure skating when they opened their Henie-Onstad Art Center in 1968 in Oslo.[2][3][5] They'd amassed an amazing collection that included works by Picasso and Matisse.[2][3] Not long after the opening, though, Sonja fell ill and would not recover.[2][3][5]

Sonja Henie Onstad died in her sleep, after a year battling leukemia, on her flight from Paris to Oslo, October 12, 1969.[2][3][3][5]

Sonja is buried on the hilltop overlooking the Henie-Onstad Museum with her husband, Niels Onstad.[6] At the time of her death, her holdings were worth more than an estimated $47 millions dollars.[2]

Sources

  1. Wikipedia Contributors, "Sonja Henie", Wikipedia.org, accessed 1 Feb 2018
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 Jacobs, Laura, "Sonja Henie's Ice Age, Vanity Fair online, www.vanityfair.com, 11 Feb 2014. Accessed 1 Feb 2018.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Biography Contributors, "Sonja Henie", Biography.com. Accessed 1 Feb 2018
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Sonja Henie", Olympic.org. Accessed 1 Feb 2018
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 The New York Times, "Sonja Henie, Skating Star, Dies", www.nytimes.com, originally published October 13, 1969. Accessed 1 Feb 2018
  6. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 February 2018), memorial page for Sonja Henie (8 Apr 1912–12 Oct 1969), Find A Grave: Memorial #6005 ; Maintained by Find A Grave. Non-cemetery burial, who reports a Hilltop overlooking the Henie-Onstad Museum.

See also:

  • Sonja Henie 1912-1969 - A 40th Anniversary Tribute - The SuperStar Years
  • Snapshots: Encounters with Twentiety-Century Legends - Chapter 40 ( Aug 28, 2014) By Herbert Kretzmer
  • Sonja Henie biographies
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24FH-BV5 : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1929; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24KT-PM8 : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1937; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24NG-Y35 : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1932; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24NR-LSR : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1934; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24VR-BTC : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1936; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "California, Los Angeles Passenger Lists, 1907-1948," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZQZ-PW8 : 28 November 2014), Sonja Henie, 1940; citing Immigration, ship name Lurline, NARA microfilm publication M1764 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 101; FHL microfilm 1,734,705.
  • "Hawaii, Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900-1953," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV9Z-TZDT : 30 December 2014), Sonja Henie, 1940; citing Ship , NARA microfilm publication A3422 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2426-JXY : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1938; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24LC-VJN : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1939; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "Brasil, Cartões de Imigração, 1900-1965," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKBB-XG44 : 3 December 2015), Sonja Henie Gardiner, Immigration; citing 1956, Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (National Archives, Rio de Janeiro).
  • "Brasil, Cartões de Imigração, 1900-1965," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKBB-XG4B : 3 December 2015), Sonja Henie Gardiner, Immigration; citing 1956, Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (National Archives, Rio de Janeiro).
  • "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:242L-MWT : 2 October 2015), Sonja Henie, 1939; citing Immigration, New York, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "United States Border Crossings from Mexico to United States, 1903-1957," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XG73-M2H : 27 November 2014), Sonja Henie, 08 Dec 1936; from "Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1954," database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2006); citing arrival port San Ysidro, California, NARA microfilm publication M1767, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 7.
  • "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K97C-YQB : accessed 1 February 2018), Sonja Heina in household of Selma Heina, Tract 387, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills Judicial Township, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 19-63, sheet 12B, line 55, family 387, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 222.


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Sonja is 24 degrees from Elinor Glyn, 28 degrees from Frances Weidman and 25 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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