Friday, February 27

Sirkka Sari

Finnish actress Sirkka Sari met an untimely and unusual death in 1939, mistaking a chimney for a balcony and falling into the boiler.

HOW could this possibly happen? I'd be eternally grateful if a Finnish speaker could translate the gist of this clip for me.


  1. That is a seriously weird way to die, I too am looking forward to the translation!

  2. Hi! I happened to find your blog just today. We seem to share many interests.

    The death of Sirkka Sari (Jahnsson) happened in 1939, in the functionalistic hotel Aulanko, when the film crew was celebrating the premiere of the film 'A Rich Girl' by the Russian-born director Valentin Vaala (Ivanov). During the celebration, as everyone was probably quite drunk, Sirkka Sari got an impulse to climb the stairs to the roof. At the top of the stairs, she opened the door and saw a black rectangular area which she thought was asphalt. She mistook it for a scenery deck, and jumped right in it.

    Friendly regards from Finland

  3. Henrik; thank you so much! That is indeed an interesting and tragic story.

  4. I found your blog by googling randomly this actress and now I see you have linked my own blog and I am seriously freaked out by the coincidence of it all. I think this means I have to link you back. Also, I loved your Grey Gardens post.

  5. Hi, just would like to set some records straight... I happend to read more about the incident last summer when I saw on TV a program containing e.g. the youtube clip interviews. At the time I read many police (authentic I suppose?) inteview reports of the persons concerned. Unfortunately couldn't find anymore those reports on the web, although even found a direct link. I suppose they've been removed for some reason.

    I remember some things I read differently than described by Henrik, and actually I think Hannes Häyrinen on the clip also remembers some things a bit different.

    There's also lot of description with references on about the incident and Sirkka Sari. Unfortunately it's on Finninsh, but I'd trust that as the writer apparently has done some reseach as they mention references also etc.

    My corrections; apparently the film was not quite finished yet, and the crew went to the hotel just to have fun. (Even Hannes Häyrinen says on the clip that they "went to party a litle bit" - no mentioning anything about the premier or that the movie was finished, besides he says about the death of SS "during the Rikas tyttö SS died".) The previously mentioned web site says that because of the death of leading actress, the end of the movie needed to be changed a bit, shoot further away, and some other actress replaced Sari on these final shots.

    Apparently it was SS's idea to go party at Aulanko, and before climbing to the roof, she's told to have said "let's be wild tonight".

    I can't remember absolutely what I read about the reports last summer, but I have the impression that Sari was not very drunk. Possibly had had some drinks, though.

    She and one man of the party went up to the roof of the building on her initiative (HH on the clip claims that the guy was her boyfriend, but it's proven that she was engaged to somebody else, so that detail HH got wrong on this interview, although SS's engagement was a known fact among the film crew). On the (flat) roof there was some meters high chimney up to which there was a ladder. SS might have thought that as a scenery deck, and climbed up and fell.

    Apparently in some sources (people also remember wrong, as HH on the clip) the story is cut short that they open the door and there's a whole in which she falls. That's not really reasonable (a chimney top opening behind a door?!?), besides I've seen a picture of the hotel with the chimney (I think it was in the reports) - couldn't find one now, though, in which it would show clearly.

    Some Sirkka Sari fan mentiones in the web a book in which SS's younger sister and some other people who new her, tell that she was fond of high places even as a child and was not afraid of height. So that might explain why she climbed even higher up.

    Nice old pictures you have on your site. :)

  6. After coming across a brief summary of her unusual death on (what else?) Wikipedia's list of unusual deaths, I'm happy to've found a more detailed explanation here :) thank you!

  7. the hotel is still in use today.
    here is a picture with the chimney clearly visible:

    it does look like a scenery deck.