Tall, blonde, turquoise-eyed Cornell Borchers was born of Lithuanian ancestry and studied medicine before turning towards a career in the performing arts. She attended drama classes from 1947 to 1948 and was discovered for films by the director Arthur Maria Rabenalt. She made a few German films before signing a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox. Publicity quickly touted her as the new Ingrid Bergman, but her first Hollywood sojourn turned out to be rather brief. After just one picture, The Big Lift (1950), Cornell walked out on her contract, convinced that quality roles were not forthcoming. For a while, her career lost its direction and she toiled away in a brace of minor German crime dramas and romances. Fortuitously, she was then snapped up by Michael Balcon for his Ealing production of The Divided Heart (1954), a sober post-war drama for which Cornell won a BAFTA award as Best Foreign Actress. This rekindled Hollywood's interest and Universal-International signed her to a two-picture-a-year deal. She was co-starred opposite Rock Hudson in the melodrama Never Say Goodbye (1956), and, in Ingrid Bergman-like fashion (even rather sounding like her) beguiled Errol Flynn in the romantic espionage drama Istanbul (1957). Her swan song was an undistinguished social drama entitled Flood Tide (1958), a misfire, which resulted in Universal failing to renew her contract. Cornell returned to Germany, having reached what amounted to be the apex of her career. She eventually quit acting in 1959, devoting herself to her family and living a secluded life away from the limelight.