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22 June 2012

Kurt Vespermann

German character actor Kurt Vespermann (1887 - 1957) was active in nearly 200 films between 1915 and 1957.

 Kurt Vespermann
German postcard by Verlag Hermann Leiser, Berlin-Wilm., no. 4304. Photo: Atelier Badekow, Berlin-W. Collection: Didier Hanson.

 Kurt Vespermann
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7534/1, 1932-1933.

Aufklärungsfilm
Kurt (sometimes Curt) Vespermann was born in Culmsee, Imperial Germany (today Chełmża, Poland) in 1887. His Great-Grandparents and grandparents had been actors, singers and directors at different Operas and Theaters, and his parents worked for a touring company. Vespermann began his career in 1913 at the Königlichen Schauspielhaus (Royal Theater), Berlin. From 1915 on, he also appeared in silent films as Manya, die Türkin/Manya, the Turkish (1915, Harry Piel) with Fritz Kortner, and Im Feuer der Schiffskanonen/In the fire of naval guns (1915, Walter Schmidthässler). To his well-known silent films belong the Aufklärungsfilm (sex education film) Es werde Licht/Let there be light (1917, Richard Oswald) starring Bernd Aldor, Tragödie der Liebe/Love Tragedy (1923, Joe May) with the young Marlene Dietrich, the Thomas Mann adaptation Die Buddenbrooks/The Buddenbrooks (1923, Gerhard Lamprecht), Sündenbabel (1925), Athleten/Athletes (1925, Frederic Zelnik) starring Asta Nielsen, Der Bettelstudent/the Beggar Student (1927, Jacob Fleck, Luise Fleck) and Asphalt (1929, Joe May) starring Betty Amann and Gustav Fröhlich. In most of these films he played supporting acts.

 Kurt Vespermann
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3556/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.

Kurt Vespermann
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3556/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Schneider, Berlin.

Age Roles
Kurt Vespermann made a smooth transition to sound film. He appeared successfully in supporting parts in the musical comedy Ronny (1931, Reinhold Schünzel) featuring Käthe von Nagy, the crime drama Schuss im Morgengrauen/A Shot at Dawn (1932, Alfred Zeisler) with Ery Bos, the comical thriller Die Welt ohne Maske/The World Without a Mask (1934, Harry Piel) and the musical Es war eine rauschende Ballnacht/It Was a Gay Ballnight (1939, Carl Froehlich) starring Marika Rökk. After the war he played many age roles, which made him known to the public again. In these years he played in the crime drama Schwarze Augen/Dark Eyes (1951, Géza von Bolváry) starring Cornell Borchers, the Grimm Brothers fairytale König Drosselbart/King Thrushbeard (1954, Herbert B. Fredersdorf), the romantic drama Wie einst Lili Marleen/Like Once Lili Marleen (1956, Paul Verhoeven) starring Adrian Hoven, and the cross dressing comedy Viktor und Viktoria/Viktor and Viktoria (1957, Karl Anton). His final film was the daring homosexual drama Anders Als du und Ich/The Third Sex (1957, Veit Harlan) with Christian Wolff. In 1953 Germany honored him with the Verdienstkreuz (Cross of merit). Kurt Vespermann died in 1957 in Berlin. He was married to actress Lia Eibenschütz. Their son Gerd Vespermann (1926 - 2000) continued the family tradition and also became a successful actor, especially in the 1950's and 1960's.

 Kurt Vespermann
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5572/1, 1930-1931. Photo: Paramount Pictures.

 Kurt Vespermann
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3028/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Suse Byk, Berlin.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

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