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21 January 2014

Hansjörg Felmy

Hansjörg Felmy (1931-2007) was a German film and stage actor. The ‘charming cad’ played in some classics of the German cinema of the 1950s, and later became well known for his role on TV as Kommissar Heinz Haferkamp in the Krimi series Tatort.

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden-Westf., no. 110. Photo: Real Film / Gabriele. Publicity still for Herz ohne Gnade/Heart without pity (Viktor Tourjansky, 1958).

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by Kolobri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden-Westf., no. 2798. Photo: Zeyn Film / Deutsche Film Hansa / Lilo. Publicity still for Haie und kleine Fische/Sharks and Little Fish (Frank Wisbar, 1957).

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by Kolobri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden-Westf., no. 2684. Photo: Zeyn Film / Deutsche Film Hansa / Lilo. Publicity still for Haie und kleine Fische/Sharks and Little Fish (Frank Wisbar, 1957).

Flegel mit Charme


Hansjörg Felmy was born as Hans-Jörg Hellmuth Felmy in Berlin in 1931. His parents were air force general Hellmuth Felmy and his wife Helene Felmy-Boettcher.

Hansjörg grew up in Braunschweig. He studied at the local Gymnasium, but had to leave the school prematurely after a quarrel with a teacher. After working as a locksmith and a typographer, Felmy followed acting classes from 1947 to 1949 at Hella Kaiser's.

In 1949 he had his first engagement at the Staatstheater Braunschweig. He made his stage debut in Carl Zuckmayers Des Teufels General (The Devil's General). In 1953 he moved on to the Stadttheater Aachen, and later to the Ensemble der Bühnen der Stadt Köln.

His first film appearance was as fighter pilot Robert Franke in Der Stern von Afrika/The Star from Africa (Alfred Weidenmann, 1956) starring Joachim Hansen. This is a biographic film of a once famous German Lufwaffe flyer, who was killed in a plane crash after over 150 kills in North Africa during WWII.

Next Felmy played in some of the classics of the German cinema: the anti-war film Haie und kleine Fische/Sharks and Little Fish (Frank Wisbar, 1957) with Horst Frank, the comedy Der Maulkorb/The Muzzle (Wolfgang Staudte, 1958) with O. E. Hasse, the satire Wir Wunderkinder/Aren't We Wonderful? (Kurt Hoffmann, 1958) with Johanna von Koczian, Der Greifer/The Copper (Eugen York, 1958) with Hans Albers, the two-part Thomas Mann adaptation Buddenbrooks (Alfred Weidenmann, 1959) with Liselotte Pulver, and the rural drama Und ewig singen die Wälder/Beyond Sing the Woods (Paul May, 1959) with Gert Frobe.

The Germans called him lovingly a 'Flegel mit Charme' (a charming cad). In the early 1960s he appeared in films like Die Botschafterin/The Ambassadress (Harald Braun, 1960) with Nadja Tiller, in the Friedrich Dürrenmatt adaptation Die Ehe des Herrn Mississippi/The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi (Kurt Hoffmann, 1961), and he starred in the Wilhelminian family chronicles Die glücklichen Jahre der Thorwalds/The Happy Years of the Thorwalds (John Olden, Wolfgang Staudte, 1962).

He also appeared in international productions like Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller Torn Curtain (1966) with Paul Newman and Julie Andrews.

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by Kolobri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden-Westf., no. 2869. Photo: Real Film / Haenchen. Publicity still for Das Herz von St. Pauli/The Heart of St. Pauli (Eugen York, 1957).

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by Kolobri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden-Westf., no. 138. Photo: Real Film / Haenchen. Publicity still for Herz ohne Gnade/Heart without pity (Viktor Tourjansky, 1958).

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H, Minden-Westf., no. 1322. Photo: Cine Custodia / Gloria / Czerwonski. Publicity still for An heiligen Wassern/Sacred Waters (Alfred Weidenmann, 1960).

Krimi


When the German cinema declined in the 1960s Hansjörg Felmy first kept busy in the popular Edgar Wallace series, in such mystery films as Der Henker von London/The Mad Executioners (Edwin Zbonek, 1963).

Later he changed his focus to stage and television. TV would make him again a popular star, especially with his role as the commissioner from the city of Essen, Heinz Haferkamp, in the Krimi (crime series) Tatort. Between 1974 and 1980 he played this role 20 times in feature length TV films.

He would play more leads in other TV series, including In Unternehmen Köpenick/Köpenick Adventure (1985), Die Wilsheimer (1987) and Hagedorns Tochter/The Daughters of Hagendorn (1994).

He was also the German dubbing voice of Jack Nicholson (in Chinatown, Terms of Endearment, and Heartburn), Steve McQueen (in The Getaway) and Roy Scheider (in Jaws).

His last films were the Edgar Wallace thriller Die Tote aus der Themse/Angels of Terror (Harald Philipp, 1971) and Fluchtversuch/Attempted Flight (Vojtech Jasny, 1976).

Hansjörg Felmy was married to actress Elfriede Rückert, and after their divorce he married longtime girlfriend and colleague Claudia Wedekind in 1986.

From the mid 1990s on he suffered from osteoporosis, and had to retire.

During his career he was twice awarded the Bambi award (1959, 1977) and also twice the Goldene Kamera (1961, 1980), the award from media magazine Hörzu.

Hansjörg Felmy died in 2007 in his house in Eching near Landshut.

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by ISV, no. M 17. Photo: Real / Europa-Film / Teampress / Weisse.

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 275. Photo: Real / NF / Gabriele.

Hansjörg Felmy
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 445. Photo: Bavaria.

Johanna von Koczian, Hansjörg Felmy, Wera Frydtberg
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 5338. Sent by mail in the Netherlands in 1960. Photo: HAFBO-film. Publicity still for Wir Wunderkinder/Aren't We Wonderful? (1958) with Johanna von Koczian and Wera Frydtberg.


Scene from Wir Wunderkinder/Aren't We Wonderful? (1958). Source: Liebhaberalterfilme (YouTube).


British trailer of Die Tote aus der Themse/Angels of Terror (1971). Source: Modcinema (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie D'Heil (Steffi-line) (German), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

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