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30 July 2015

Ingrid Steeger

Sexy Ingrid Steeger (1947) is a German actress and comedian. She started her career in the soft sex films that were all the rage in Europe during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1973, she became famous as a Marilyn Monroe-like funny and delicious blonde in the TV comedy show Klimbim.

Ingrid Steeger
German autograph card by Bravo.

The girl with the most cover shots


Ingrid Steeger was born as Ingrid Anita Stengert in 1947 in Berlin. She was the third child of Kurt and Käthe Stengert. After school she worked as a secretary when she was discovered by photographer Frank Quade. Soon pinup photos of her appeared in numerous men's magazines, especially SEXY, where even today she is the girl with the most cover shots.

She was elected Miss Filmfestival (Berlin 1968) and soon was into films herself. She appeared in the Edgar Wallace crime films Der Gorilla von Soho/Gorilla Gang (Alfred Vohrer, 1968) and Die Tote aus der Themse/Angels of Terror (Harald Philipp, 1971). The popularity of the Wallace series was waning and Steeger found more employ in a new, highly popular genre, sexploitation.

Her first erotic comedy was Rat' mal, wer heut bei uns schläft...?/Guess Who's Sleeping with Us Tonight? (Alexis Neve, 1969) with Andrea Rau. Not wanting to use her real name, because her father objected, and not yet having decided on a stage name, her first film billed her as Ingrid Stengel.

Next followed Ich - Ein Groupie/Me, a Groupie (Erwin C. Dietrich, 1970) in which she played the lead as a groupie travelling across Europe with rock bands and hippies. Christopher Underwood at IMDb: “Splendidly lurid sexploitation featuring a lovely Ingrid Steeger who wears sexy clothes now and again but not too often. A surprisingly large amount of time is spent over the preparation and administration of various drugs and the music and musicians authentic enough.”

A huge box office hit in the European cinemas was the sex report film Schulmädchen-Report: Was Eltern nicht für möglich halten/Schoolgirl Report Part 1: What Parents Don't Think Is Possible (Ernst Hofbauer, 1970). The film is a pseudo-documentary loosely based on the non-fictional book Schulmädchen-Report by sexologist Günther Hunold, published the same year. The book presented interviews with twelve teenage girls on their sexual lives. Schulmädchen-Report topped the German cinema charts for weeks in 1970 and became the first in a series that would last thirteen titles until 1980.

Steeger appeared in part 4 and 5, Schulmädchen-Report 4 – Was Eltern oft verzweifeln läßt/Schoolgirl Report Part 4: What Drives Parents to Despair (Ernst Hofbauer, 1972) and Schulmädchen-Report 5 – Was Eltern wirklich wissen sollten/Schoolgirl Report Part 5: What All Parents Should Know (Walter Boos, Ernst Hofbauer, 1973), but also in several variations like Ehemänner-Report/Freedom for Love (Harald Philipp, 1971), Hochzeitsnacht-Report/Wedding Night Report (Hubert Frank, 1972), Krankenschwestern-Report/Nurses Report (Walter Boos, 1972) and Hausfrauenreport international/Housewives on the Job (Ernst Hofbauer, 1973).

Ingrid Steeger
German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/400.

Ingrid Steeger
German postcard by Krüger.

Ingrid Steeger
French postcard by Editions Chapeau, Nantes / S.P.A.D.E.M., Paris, 1974, printed in Italy by Cecami. Captions: "Le travail c'est la santé!... Hum! Rien faire, c'est la conserver!... D'ac!" and at the flipside "En vacances".

Ingrid Steeger
German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/399. Sent by mail from France to Germany in 1971.

Ingrid Steeger
German postcard by Krüger, no. 900/400.

Klimbim


In between all these soft sex films, Ingrid Steeger also played parts in TV-films and series like in an episode of the popular Krimi series Der Kommissar/The Police Inspector (1973) with Erik Ode and Fritz Wepper.

She had her breakthrough when she starred as Gabi Klimbim in the TV comedy show Klimbim (1973-1979), a German version of the American show Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. She proved to be an excellent comedienne. Steeger was a huge success as the Marilyn Monroe-like funny and sexy blonde, who often went topless. The series, created by Michael Pfleghar, was a huge hit, and the sex was one of the reasons. It was rather unusual and daring for a prime time terrestrial TV programme.

Stefan Kahrs at IMDb: “Another invention was to use a sitcom element in the show, the Klimbim family. This sitcom within the show could perhaps be described as a cross between the Bundy family in Married... with Children and the students in The Young Ones (1982). In other words, you watched in a mixture of amusement and horror, certainly relieved that nobody like that would live anywhere near you. Although the characters in that sitcom were all outrageous caricatures, it still gave the show's regulars plenty of opportunity to show off their comedic skills.”

Steeger won several TV awards, including the Goldene Kamera by TV magazine Hörzu in 1977, the Bravo Otto in gold in 1978 (voted by the readers of Germany's biggest teen magazine Bravo) and the Bambi award in 1990. With Iris Berben, she also co-starred in the TV miniseries Zwei himmlische Töchter/Two heavenly daughters (Michael Pfleghar, 1978) as two nightclub dancers who inherit a 1930s airplane. Then she flopped badly with a third series directed by Pfleghar, Susi (Michael Pfleghar, 1980-1981).

She went to France to live with her French actor-friend Jean-Paul Zehnacker, who had co-starred with her in Susi. But they soon separated. Ingrid returned to Germany to become a mature, serious actress, in the vein of her idols Shirley MacLaine or Goldie Hawn, but the public wouldn't let her. Guest appearances in many German TV series followed.

She also played in a few films, such as André schafft sie alle/Andre Handles Them All (Peter Fratzscher, 1985) with Franco Nero, and Paul is dead (Hendrik Handloegten, 2000) about the urban legend that Paul McCartney died early and the public had not been informed at all. Her most recent film is Goldene Zeiten/Golden Times (Peter Tworwarth, 2006) starring Dirk Benedict.

In recent years she has concentrated on theatre and played mostly in boulevard comedies. She also wrote her memoirs, Und find es wunderbar: Mein Leben (And find it wonderful – my life). Steeger was married twice, first to cameraman Lothar E. Stickelbrucks (1973–1975) and later to Red Indian Dakota Tom LaBlanc (1992–1995). Today Ingrid Steeger lives in Munich with her dachshund Eliza Doolittle.

Ingrid Steeger
German promotion card by Bastei Lübbe for Ingrid Steeger's autobiography Und find es wunderbar: Mein Leben. Photo: Olivier Favre.

Sources: Ulrich Lobjinski (IMDb), Stefan Kahrs (IMDb), Christopher Underwood (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

Oh those German gals