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01 April 2013

Kati Székely

German actress Kati Székely (1941) is a former star of the DEFA studio.

Kati Szekely
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 2.537, 1966. Retail price: 0,15 DM. Photo: Schwarzer.

Anne Frank
Kati Székely was born as Catherine Székely in New York City, US in 1941. She was the daughter of the Hungarian writer Hans Székely. In 1938, her family had emigrated to the US. During the McCarthy era, members and sympathizers of the American Communist Party were persecuted by the U.S. government. The ‘un-American Left sympathizer’ Hans Székely and his family went to Mexico, where Kati spent a part of her childhood. In 1956 the family moved to Potsdam in East-Germany, where her father worked as a screenwriter for the DEFA. As a teenager, Székely played the lead role of Anne Frank in the play Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank/Diary of Anne Frank at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin under the direction of Emil Stöhr. The production was filmed for television in 1958. Székely visited the Staatliche Schauspielschule (State Theatre School), and she was soon discovered for film and television. In 1960, she played a supporting part in the French-East-German film Les arrivistes/The Opportunists (1960, Louis Daquin) with Madeleine Robinson. Then Kati played in the TV mini-series Das grüne Ungeheuer/The Green Monster (1962, Rudi Kurz). Her co-star was Jürgen Frohriep, who later became her second husband. At the time she was married to actor actor Hans-Edgar Stecher.

Kati Szekely
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1.821, 1963. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Klaus Fischer.

Kati Szekely
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 2740, 1966. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Schwarz.

The Berlin Wall
Kati Székely appeared in the first Indians film of the DEFA, Die Söhne der großen Bärin/The Sons of Great Bear (1965, Josef Mach), based on the novel by Lieselotte Welskopf-Henrich. She played the sister of the young Dakota Indian chief Tokei-ihto (Gojko Mitic). One of her other major films was the first film about the Berlin wall … Und deine Liebe auch/... And your love too (1962, Frank Vogel) with Armin Mueller-Stahl. After marrying Jürgen Frohriep, she gave up acting and studied psychology. Her final feature film was the DEFA western Schüsse unterm Galgen/Shots Under the Gallows (1970, Horst Seemann) with Werner Kanitz. After the Wende and due to the lack of roles, Jürgen Frohriep suffered from a depression and had an alcohol problem. The couple separated and Székely moved to Switzerland. As Kati Székely-Frohriep, she opened a private practice as a psychotherapist. She also gave lectures on spirituality and psychotherapy. Kati Székely has a son from her first marriage with Hans-Edgar Stecher, actor Thomas Stecher.

Kati Székely
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 2.551, 1966. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Pathenheimer / DEFA. Publicity still for Die Söhne der großen Bärin/The Sons of Great Bear (1965).

Sources: Katrin und Uta Zutz (DEFA Sternstunden) (German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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