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The Real Characters of Out of Africa

Karen Blixen
portrayed by Meryl Streep

Born in Rungtedlund, Denmark in 1885, Karen arrives in Africa at the age of 29 intent on marrying her friend Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke and running a farm in Africa. The movie covers her life during the seventeen years that she lived at the foot of the Ngong Hills. When she returned to Denmark, bankrupt and heartbroken over Denys Finch Hatton's death, she turned to writing. Eventually publishing under the name Isek Dinesen. Karen died on September 7, 1962 from malnutrition, thought to be caused from complications from her syphillis treatment in 1915.

Denys Finch Hatton
portrayed by Robert Redford

Born in England in 1987 and educated at the prestigious Eton Academy, Finch Hatton traveled to Africa in search of adventure in 1911. He would live there for the rest of his life, supporting himself by leading tourists on safari (first shooting safaris and eventually photographic safaris.) As in the movie, he died in a plane crash near Mombassa on May 14, 1931.

Bror Blixen
portrayed by Klaus Maria Brandauer

Born in 1886, Swedish nobleman Bror von Blixen-Finecke, was married to Karen Blixen from 1914 to 1924 (although they lived apart for the last three of those years.) By all accounts he was just as charming a rogue in real life as he was in the movie. He died in 1946.

portrayed by Malick Bowens

Farah was Karen's manservant all the years that she lived in Africa. By many accounts, despite the racial taboos of the time, he was her closest friend in Africa. A proud and noble Samali, he lived for many years after Karen left Africa.

portrayed by Joseph Thiaka

One of Karen's favorite's, Kumante was a unique individual who would continue to correspond with Karen all through-out his life. Still living when the movie was made in 1985, he enchanted the cast and crew with stories of Africa turning the years portrayed in the film.

Barkley Cole
portrayed by Michael Kitchen

Typical of many of the British Colonialists that lived in Nairobi during this time, Barkley Cole is said to have been very much as he was portrayed in the film. A friend and sometime business partner of Denys Finch Hatton, it was Cole who created the Muthaiga Men's Club that is portrayed in the film.

portrayed by Suzanna Hamilton
Based on real-life writer/aviator Meryl Markham who was a friend of Karen Blixen's and a suspected loved of Denys Finch Hatton. Markham would write the popular book "Westwood the Night". She was also famous for being the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic going East to West. She died in 1986 in her home in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Out of Africa

Karen Blixen ( Meryl Streep ):

"Are you well, Farah?"