In 1959 against strong family opposition – her mother wanted her to follow a career in Medicine – Christiane Schmidtmer moved to Munich where she began taking acting lessons. During that time she performed in afternoon stage productions for children.
Schmidtmer was one of just a few German actresses successful in 1960s Hollywood and was praised by critics as the most exciting German import since Marlene Dietrich. Schmidtmer - with her attractive and typically German appearance - was often reduced to playing the "attractive German". Her nickname which stuck throughout her career was "Liebesbombe"/"Love Bomb".
Schmidtmer worked onstage in Germany from 1961–63, then turned to photographic modelling for German fashion and nude magazines and later, Playboy in the USA. She modelled for advertising companies, namely Max Factor Cosmetics, before she started her movie career. She was hired as their featured model and introduced at the New York World's Fair in 1964 followed by an American tour with visits to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago.
Throughout the 1970s and towards the end of her career, Schmidtmer appeared in numerous US talk shows, television series, and B-Movie productions such as The Giant Spider Invasion (1975). In 1981 she appeared in Hot Bubblegum - Lemon Popsicle 3 - one of the sequels in the Israeli Eskimo Limon series. Most sources list this as her last film; in it she portrayed a nymphomaniac piano Teacher.
She appeared in German TV and movie productions, such as Rolf Hädrich's Delay in Marienborn. During the filming in Berlin and England she befriended co-star José Ferrer. The friendship lasted until Ferrer's death in 1992. He later recommended her to Stanley Kramer for his production of Ship of Fools, her first US film in which she played Ferrer's beautiful mistress. She played the evil prison wardress in The Big Doll House (1971) as well as Lufthansa stewardess Lise Bruner in Boeing Boeing.
In 1994 her apartment in Los Angeles was destroyed in a fire. Hundreds of videotapes including many demo tapes for casting offices, along with her movie and TV memorabilia were lost.
In subsequent months Christiane Schmidtmer devoted much of her Energy and time to rebuilding her memorabilia collection, most of which was donated to the German film museum in Frankfurt by Schmidtmer's mother. In 1995 Schmidtmer permanently moved back to Germany to live with her widowed mother. She led a quiet life during which her own health started to fail.
Schmidtmer died in her sleep on 13 March 2003 at her home in Heidelberg, Germany due to natural causes following an accident. She is survived by her last manager and long-time companion in Las Vegas. Her mother died in Heidelberg on 15 January 2016. They are interred at the family grave in Heidelberg-Handschuhsheim.
At the age of seventeen her mother sent her to London where Christiane attended St Giles school to learn English. During her stay in England, she met a powerful man of British royalty who offered to send her to the Royal Academy of Arts if – in return – she would sleep with him. She packed her bags and left for Germany the same night. After returning to Heidelberg, she attended the local Hölderlin-Gymnasium (academic high school) from which she graduated during the late 1950s.