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23 December 2013

Matthias Fuchs

German actor Matthias Fuchs (1939-2001) was well known as the young Ethelbert in the popular Immenhof film series in the 1950s. Later he evolved into one of the most respected character actors of the German theatre, and worked on film and TV with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Matthias Fuchs
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1159. Photo: Ultra Film / Lilo. Publicity still for Mit 17 weint man nicht/17 Year Olds Don't Cry (Alfred Vohrer, 1960).

Heimat Comedies


Matthias Fuchs was born in Hannover, Germany, in 1939.

He became known in the role of Ethelbert in the Heimat comedies about the Immenhof farm, at the side of Angelika Meissner and Heidi Brühl.

He made his film debut in the first part of the series, Die Mädels vom Immenhof/The Girls from Immenhof (Wolfgang Schleif, 1955) and also appeared in the sequels Hochzeit auf Immenhof/Wedding at Immenhof (Volker von Collande, 1956) and Ferien auf Immenhof/Holiday at Immenhof (Hermann Leitner, 1957).

Other films in which he appeared were Der erste Frühlingstag/The First day of Spring (Helmut Weiss, 1956) with Luise Ullrich, the historically unaccurate war film U47 - Kapitänleutnant Prien/ U-47 Lt. Commander Prien (Harald Reinl, 1958), the comedy-fantasy Der Engel, der seine Harfe versetzte/The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp (Kurt Hoffmann, 1959) and the Thomas Mann adaptation Buddenbrooks - 2. Teil/Buddenbrooks, part 2 (Alfred Weidenmann, 1959) starring Liselotte Pulver.

Matthias Fuchs
German postcard by Rüdel Verlag (Franz Josef Rüdel Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf), no. 3213. Photo: Erwin Schneider.

Matthias Fuchs
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin, no. FK 1750. Photo: Spörr / Arca-Film / NF.

Death Is My Trade


After attending drama school Matthias Fuchs evolved into one of the most respected character actors of the German theatre.

Throughout his life he was closely associated with the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. Famous became his work with director Peter Zadek.

During the 1960s and 1970s he also appeared in TV films and he played supporting parts in films like Das Mädchen und der Staatsanwalt/The Girl and the District Attorney (Jürgen Goslar, 1962) with Elke Sommer, The Cardinal (Otto Preminger, 1963), and Mutter Küsters' Fahrt zum Himmel/Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975) with Brigitte Mira.

He also appeared in Aus einem deutschen Leben/Death Is My Trade (Theodor Kotulla, 1977), a disturbing biography of Rudolph Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz II-Birkenau, played by Götz George.

Matthias Fuchs
German postcard by Rüdel Verlag (Franz Josef Rüdel Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf), no. 1723. Photo: A. Grimm / CCC / Deutsche London. Publicity still for Der erste Frühlingstag/The First Spring Day (Helmut Weiss, 1956).

Matthias Fuchs
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 4810. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Lilo-Publicity / Ultra-Europa. Publicity still for Mit 17 weint Mann nicht/17 Year Olds Don't Cry (Alfred Vohrer, 1960).

Jurassic Park Spoof


Matthias Fuchs worked several times with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, including the TV mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) and the second chapter of Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy, Lola (1981) starring Barbara Sukowa.

Other interesting films were Die flambierte Frau/A Woman in Flames (Robert van Ackeren, 1983) starring Gudrun Landgrebe, Decoder (Muscha, 1983), and the Sci-Fi film Das Arche Noah Prinzip/The Noah’s Ark Principle (Roland Emmerich, 1984).

The latter was the most expensive (about 1.2 million DM) student film ever made in Germany. On TV he guest-starred in popular Krimi series like Der Fahnder/The Investigator (1988), Der Alte/The Old Fox (1989) and Derrick (1990).

He regularly appeared in films such as the comedy Rotwang muß weg!/Rotwang Must Go (Hans-Christoph Blumenberg, 1994), a spoof of Jurassic Park with Udo Kier, and the creepy thriller Der Totmacher/Deathmaker (Romuald Karmakar, 1995), starring Götz George.

Also interesting is Beim nächsten Kuß knall ich ihn nieder/At the Next Kiss I'll Shoot Him (1996), a biography of German film director Reinhold Schünzel, who had to emigrate from Germany in the 1930s, and went to Hollywood.

After the death of Peter Pasetti, Fuchs represented from 1995 until his death in 2001, the role of the narrator in 39 episodes of the radio drama series, Die drei????/the three???? (Episode 65 to 103). He was also a narrator of television documentaries and the animation series Max und Moritz/Max and Moritz (Veit Vollmer, 1999).

Matthias Fuchs died of lung cancer in 2001 in Hamburg, Germany. His final film was Prüfstand VII/Test Stand VII (Robert Bramkamp, 2002) with Robert Forster.


Trailer of Lola (1981). Source: Railto Film (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia, and IMDb.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've become fascinated by him after watching Fassbinders Lola.