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23 December 2014

Fred Louis Lerch

Austrian actor Fred Louis Lerch (1902-1985) was a handsome star of the Weimar cinema. In the 1950s he would work again for the German cinema as a production manager.

Fred Louis Lerch
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5229. Photo: Manassé, Wien.

Fred Louis Lerch
French postcard by Cinemagazine-Edition, no. 412.

Fred Louis Lerch
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5397. Photo: Magazin-Atelier.

Romantic Lover


Fred Louis Lerch was born as Alois Lerch in 1902 in Ernsdorf, Niederösterreich, Austria-Hungary (now Austria).

He began his career at the age of 20 with small parts in Austrian films like Die Menschen nennen es Liebe/People Call It Love (Nano Ziffer-Tesschenbruck, 1922), Opfer des Hasses/Sacrifice of Hate (Hanns Marschall, 1923), Das Bildnis/The Picture (Jacques Feyder, 1923), and Die Tochter der Frau von Larsac/The Daughter of mrs. von Larsac (Luise & Jakob Fleck, 1924).

He went on to star as the romantic lover in German and Austrian productions like Der Walzer von Strauß/Strauss' Waltz (Max Neufeld, 1925), Carmen (Jacques Feyder, 1926) with Raquel Meller, the comedy Der Jüngling aus der Konfektion/The Young Man From Confection (Richard Löwenbein, 1926), and the Arthur Schitzler adaptation Liebelei/Flirtation (Luise & Jakob Fleck, 1926).

In Sweden he acted as Louis Lerch in Förseglade läppar/Sealed Lips (Gustaf Molander, 1927) based on a story by Guy de Maupausant, and with Ruth Weyher and Margit Manstad in the eternal triangle drama Parisiskor/Doctors' Women (Gustaf Molander, 1927).

From then on he solely worked in Germany. He starred with Lya Mara in Heut tanzt Mariett/Today Mariett Dances (Friedrich Zelnik - later Frederic Zelnik, 1928), followed by two films directed by Richard Eichberg, Rutschbahn/Whirl of Youth (1928) with Fee Malten and Heinrich George, and the stylish Großstadtschmetterling/City Butterfly (1928) starring the Chinese-American Hollywood star Anna May Wong.

Among his other silent films were Mary Lou (Friedrich Zelnik, 1928), and the Edgar Wallace adaptation Der rote Kreis/The Crimson Circle (Friedrich Zelnik, 1929) both again with Lya Mara.

Fred Louis Lerch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 1970/1, 1927-1928. Photo: Alex Binder, Berlin.

Fred Louis Lerch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 5010/2, 1930-1931. Photo: Defina.

Fred Louis Lerch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4021/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

Fred Louis Lerch, Lya Mara
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3414/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Defina / DEFU. Publicity still for Heut tanzt Mariett/Today dances Mariett (Friedrich Zelnik, 1928) with  Lya Mara. Collection: Egbert Barten.

Production Manager


When the sound film came to stay, the career of the then 29 year old Fred Louis Lerch halted. The naturalistic actor appeared only in front of the camera in small parts in films like the British-German coproduction The Flame of Love (Richard Eichberg, Walter Cummings, 1930) – again with Anna May Wong, Student sein wenn die Veilchen blühen/Student Life in Marry Springtime (Heinz Paul, 1930) with Anita Dorris, and the comedy Um eine Nasenlänge/By a Nose (Johannes Guter, 1931) with Sig Arno.

His last film was Die vom 17er Haus/Those From the 17th House (Artur Berger, 1932).

Twenty years later he returned to the film business. As a production or unit manager he worked from 1951 till 1961 for several German film companies. Among these films were many Heimatfilms like Hochzeitsglocken/Wedding Bells (Georg Wildhagen, 1953) starring Marianne Hoppe, and Der Meineidbauer/The Perjury Farmer (Rudolf Jugert, 1956) starring Carl Wery and Heidemarie Hatheyer.

Fred Louis Lerch died in 1985 in München (Munich), Germany, at the age of 83. He was married to actress Grete Reinwald.

Fred Louis Lerch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3751/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Atelier Jacobi, Berlin.

Fred Louis Lerch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 4627/1, 1929-1930. Photo: Defina.

Fred Louis Lerch
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3856/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Efzet-Film. Publicity still for Der rote Kreis/The Crimson Circle (Friedrich Zelnik, 1929).

Fred Louis Lerch
Austrian postcard by Iris Verlag, no. 5440. Photo: Nero-Film / Excelsior-Film. Collection: Didier Hanson.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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