Lilli Palmer, 71, an acclaimed actress and author in Europe and the United States, died Jan. 27 at her home in Los Angeles. The cause of death was not reported.

A former wife of actor Rex Harrison, Miss Palmer will be seen in her final role in next week's "Peter the Great" television miniseries. She began her career in her native Germany in the early 1930s and continued it in London before moving on to New York and Hollywood.

Among her films were "Cloak and Dagger" with Gary Cooper in 1945, "Body and Soul" with John Garfield in 1948, "The Four Poster" with Harrison in 1952, "The Pleasure of His Company" with Fred Astaire in 1961, "The Counterfeit Traitor" with William Holden in 1952 and "The Boys From Brazil" with Gregory Peck in 1978.

She won several acting honors, including three Golden Globe awards, the Cinema Nuova Gold Plaque of Venice, the Donatello Award of Italy, the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award and two television Emmys.

Miss Palmer was born in Posen in what was then Germany and is now Poland. She grew up in Berlin. Her mother was an actress and her father, Dr. Alfred Peiser, was chief of surgery at one of Berlin's largest Jewish hospitals.

In 1932, she joined the State Theater of Darmstadt, one of Germany's best repertory companies. In 1933, after the Nazis had staged a demonstration at the theater, she went to Paris and two years later to London. In 1939, she met and married Harrison, then a matinee idol of the British stage. They had one son, Carey, who became a professor in England, and were divorced in 1957.

"I thought I'd have a fling and it lasted 17 years," she once said. "He took violent umbrage that I wrote about the breakup of our marriage."

Harrison objected to her contention that he married her successor, his third wife, actress Kay Kendall, because he knew Miss Kendall was dying and wanted to bring her happiness.

Miss Palmer's autobiography, "Change Lobsters and Dance," sold more than 1 million copies and was translated into several languages. Its success with the public as well as the plaudits of critics surprised and delighted her.

"I never thought it would interest anyone," she said. "I wasn't in a concentration camp. I wasn't raped. I wasn't violated. I was so lucky. When I got that kick in the behind from Hitler I thought it was the tragedy of my life. But it was the luck of my life."

A sequel to the autobiography in the form of a novel, "The Red Raven," appeared in 1978. Another novel, "A Time to Embrace," was published in 1980, and she enjoyed more success in 1983 with "Night Music," about a professor whose life changes after his wife dies of a heart attack.

In addition to her son, Miss Palmer is survived by her husband, Carlos Thompson.