Lotte Hass dies
Lotte Hass, "The Girl on the Ocean Floor" has passed away at the age of 86. Lotte was the second wife of diving legend Hans Hass who passed away in 2013. Hans was a pioneer in the early days of diving and is credited with many innovations that are now a standard part of diving. While Cousteau was developing and diving with open circuit designs, Hanns was refining rebreathers. He is credited with the world's first underwater color photographs and some of the earliest commercial movies underwater. While a very accomplished marine scientist and inventor it is his documentaries that people remember him for the most. Hass published "Diving to Adventure," his first book of underwater photographs, in 1939, and some credit him with developing one of the first underwater cameras. Hass completed his first underwater video called Pirsch unter Wasser (Stalking under Water) in 1940. He married his first wife in 1945, a famous movie star, who he divorced in 1950.
Shortly after his divorce from his first wife, Hanns started to look for a new secretary. Being a celebrity in his own right, there were many applicants.Lotte, a fresh high school graduate who had a passion for the underwater environment, got the job. Hanns was to produce an underwater movie for a major studio in the Red Sea. The studio insisted that he take Lotte with him. Secretly, Lotte had been learning to dive at a local pool.While on site one of the camera man became ill and Lotte convince Hanns to allow her to help out. On their first dive the group discovered a 19th century slaver. Also while filming a whale shark, Lotte was knocked unconscious by a manta ray. They also became engaged on that trip and shortly thereafter married.The resulting movie "Under the Red Sea" was an award winner and Lotte became the star. After that movie, she often was filmed swimming and diving with sharks, this at a time when diving was considered a man's sport and seeing a shark was sure death. She showed the world that the sea was a place of glamour and that there was a place for women in it. The documentaries by Hanns Hass with the underwater model and wife Lotte captured that ultimate glamor and turned them into movies that captivated an audience of millions. The top five movie studios all approached her asking for exclusive contracts, and she turned them all down. Hanns produced over 100 documentaries most having Lotte as the underwater model.
As if showing the world diving was not just a man's sport, she moved to the other side of the camera and became an award winning underwater photographer as well as model. Many called her the "First Lady of Diving" but she preferred being known as "The Girl on the Ocean Floor", which is the title of her autobiography and that of a filmmade from the book.
Lotte Hass was one of the first members of the Woman's Diving Hall of Fame.