Lou Gehrig With His Real Mom, March 22, 1930
Above is Yankee legend Lou Gehrig with his real mother in contrast to movie Gehrig and mom.
Mrs. Gehrig: “I want you to be somebody.”
Lou: “Sure, Mom.”
Mrs. Gehrig Like your Uncle Otto, Louie. He went to university. He graduated. Don’t you see, Louie? That’s why I’m cooking at Columbia, so you can go there some day……and be an engineer like your Uncle Otto. Lou you are going to become an engineer like your Uncle Otto.”
Those are the words Mrs. Gehrig says to young Lou Gehrig in the 1942 movie The Pride of the Yankees.
Most people visualize Lou Gehrig’s mother through Elsa Janssen’s portrayal of Christina Gehrig. Jansenn, born in 1883 was two years younger than her subject and does look a lot like her.
Fortunately in both the movie and possibly in real life, Lou eschewed his mom’s aspirations for him to become an engineer. If there was a person who “Uncle Otto” was based upon, he is lost to history.
Christina Gehrig died in 1954 at age 73, outliving her famous son by 12 years. Elsa Janssen who appeared in only 25 films, died on February 5 1969 at the age of 85.
Uncle Otto, Schmotto! He dug ditches.
The one Yankee I wish I got to see play. Quite possibly my favorite Yankee as well. Fantastic book “Luckiest Man” by Jonathan Eig if you never read it.