Rainer won her first Academy Award in 1936 for playing the wife of Florenz Ziegfeld in the film The Great Ziegfeld. The next year, she'd hold another shiny statue for playing the lead in The Good Earth. The only other actors to win Oscars in consecutive years are Spencer Tracy (1938, 1939), Katharine Hepburn (1968, 1969), Jason Robards (1976, 1977), and Tom Hanks (1993, 1994).
Following her Oscar wins, Rainer only starred in one more Hollywood film, Hostages. She appeared in various television movies and series in the 1940s and 1950s before walking away from her acting career altogether.
Rainer is survived by her daughter, Francsca Knittel-Bowyer.