19 August 2011

Conny Froboess

German singer Cornelia - Conny - Froboess (1943) was an immensely popular teen idol in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1970s she transformed into a respected stage actress.

Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard by Uitg. 't Sticht, Utrecht, no. 116. Photo: Hafbofilm, Amsterdam.

Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam. Sent by mail in 1962.

Conny Froboess
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/72. Photo: Winkler/Sascha-Film/Constantin/Werner Press. Publicity card for Electrola.

Child Star
Cornelia Froboess was born in Wriezen a.d. Oder, Germany in 1943, where her mother Margaretha was sent to when her homeplace Berlin was bombed. Her father was the composer Gerhard Froboess. In 1951, his composition Pack die Badehose ein (1951, Pack Your Swimsuit) made his 8-year-old daughter Germany's first post-war child star. It was a cheery tune about a group of children going to swim at the Wannsee on a hot summer's day. The song was originally composed for the Schöneberger Sängerknaben, but their manager refused the song, and so ‘Die kleine Cornelia’ made her successful stage debut. The same year she made her (uncredited) first film appearance in Sündige Grenze/Illegal Border (1951, Robert A. Stemmle) with Dieter Borsche. Many films would follow.

Conny Froboess
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel. Photo: Schönbrunn/Constantin-Film.

Conny Froboess
Dutch Postcard by N.V. v.h. Weenenk & Snel, Baarn, nr. 1060.

Conny Froboess
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden/Westf., no. 511. Photo: H. P./Union/Ewald. Publicity still for Hula Hopp, Conny".

Teen Idol
In 1958, after the rock and roll wave had hit Germany, Cornelia Froboess recorded Paul Anka’s Diana. The song became no. 2 in the German hitparade and Cornelia became teen idol Conny. Other hits followed like I love You Baby (1958) and Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon (1962). Her musical films with schlager singers like Rex Gildo and Peter Alexander were also successful. Probably the best of those schlagerfilms was Der Traum von Lieschen Müller/The Dream of Lieschen Mueller (1961, Helmut Kautner) opposite Peter Weck. In these films she often portrayed a spontaneous 'Berliner Göre' (brat from Berlin) who craves for independence from her strict parents.

Peter Weck, Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard. Send by mail in 1964. Conny with Peter Weck.

Peter Weck, Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard. Conny with Peter Weck.

Conny Froboess
German postcard by ISV, no. H 48.

Die Conny mit dem Peter
Conny's comedy with 'the German Elvis', Peter Kraus, Wenn die Conny mit dem Peter/When Conny and Peter Do It Together (1958, Fritz Umgelter), made them 'The dream couple of the German show world'. Their Conny und Peter machen Musik/Conny and Peter Are Making Music (1960, Werner Jacobs) was even the biggest box office hit of that year. Despite these commercial successes they only made these two schlagerfilms together.

Conny Froboess, Rex Gildo, Peter Krauss, Rolf Pinegger
German postcard by ISV, no. E 13. Photo: Constantin/Grimm. Conny with Rex Gildo (left), Peter Krauss (right), and Rolf Pinegger.

Conny Froboess
Vintage card, with far left Rex Gildo.

Peter Kraus, Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard, no. 761.

Conny Froboess, Peter Krauss
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 4489. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity Still for Conny und Peter machen Musik (1960, Werner Jacobs).

Eurovision Song Contest
In 1962 Conny Froboess' song Zwei kleine Italiener (Two Little Italians) was Germany's entry at The Eurovision Song Contest. Conny finished disappointingly sixth but the song became her only no. 1 hit. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. That same year she appeared in Jean Renoir's comedy film Le caporal épinglé/The Elusive Corporal (1962) starring Jean-Pierre Cassel. She lost her interest in music and in 1964 she decided to focus on acting. As Cornelia Froboess she strived to become a respected stage actress and she would go on to portray the heroins of the classic plays by Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frank Wedekind, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Botho Strauss and others.

Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity still for Ja, so ein Mädchen mit sechzehn/Yeah, Such A Sixteen Year Old Girl (1959, Hans Grimm).

Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard by 't Sticht, Utrecht, nr. 112. Photo: HAFBO. Publicity still from Conny und Peter machen Musik (1960, Werner Jacobs).

Conny Froboess
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/97. Photo: Bavariafilm.

Conny Froboess
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. CK 365. Ca. 1962. Photo: Ufa, Berlin.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
From 1972 to 2001 Cornelia Froboess was a permanent ensemble member at the Kammerspiele in Munich, and since 2001 at the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel. A hugely popular success was her Eliza Doolittle in the stage musical My Fair Lady. She also worked regularly for television, but she made only a few more feature films. Remarkable was her role in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s excellent drama Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss/Veronika Voss (1982). In 1988 she played Marthe Schwerdtlein in Goethe's Faust I, a performance that was also released as film: Faust – Vom Himmel durch die Welt zur Hölle/Faust - the film (1988, Dieter Dorn) starring Helmut Griem. In Knockin' on Heaven's Door (1997, Thomas Jahn) she played the mother of a man suffering of terminal cancer, played by Til Schweiger. She appears regularly on TV as a guest star in such series as the popular Krimis SOKO 5113 (2009) and Der Alte/The Old Fox (1980-2010). Her most recent film role was as a grandmother in Villa Henriette (2004, Peter Payer). Since 1967 Cornelia Froboess is married to stage director and manager Hellmuth Matiasek. They have two children, Agnes (1968) and Kaspar (1970). The family lives in Inntal near Wendelstein.

Cornelia Froboess sings Diana in Hula-Hopp, Conny (1958). Source: Liebhaberaltermusik (YouTube).

Sources: IMDb and Wikipedia.

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