27 September 2015

Marius Monkau

Every year in early autumn, the Netherlands Film Festival (NFF) takes place. For ten days, the city of Utrecht is the cinema capital of the Netherlands. From 23 September till 2 October, we join the fun with our own Netherlands Film Star Postcards Festival (NFSPF). Today, a post on Dutch singer and actor Marius Monkau (1937). He was well known during the 1960s and 1970s for his performances in stage musicals like Hair, in popular Dutch TV series and in the film Plantage Tamarinde (1964).

Marius Monkau
Dutch postcard. Photo: Basart Records.

Plantage Tamarinde

Marius Frederik Monau was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1937 from a Surinam father and a Scottish-Dutch mother. His father, Arthur Monkau, played in the Dutch film De Ballade van den Hoge hoed/The Ballad of the high hat (Max de Haas, 1936). Marius is the brother of actor Jack Monkau and photographer Arthur Monkau Jr.

After studying at the MULO, he worked for a while in the textile industry. When he was 17 years old, he came into contact with Tom Manders (famous in the Netherlands as the singing tramp Dorus). He worked in his cabaret Saint Germain des Prés in Amsterdam and later worked with him in German shows.

He toured South Africa with singer Zwarte Riek (Black Riek a.k.a. Rika Jansen). His breakthrough was in the Dutch stage version of the musical Irma la Douce (1962) starring Beppie Nooy (also the director), Johnny Kraaykamp and Donald Jones.

In 1963, Marius made his first appearances in Dutch TV shows performing his song Nita Juanita (My Juanita). Another hit song would be Two lovely blue eyes (1968).

A year later he made his film debut as a singer in Plantage Tamarinde (Michael Forlong, 1964), starring Albert van Dalsum and with his brother Jack in a supporting part. Between 1963 and 1966, he lived and worked mainly in Germany where he was a singer of negro spirituals.

He continued to appear as a singer in Dutch and Belgian TV shows, but also acted in such series as Tot de dood ons scheidt (1969) starring Hans Tiemeyer, the Dutch version of the classic British series Till Death Us Do Part (1965-1975) by Johnny Speight.

Marius Monkau
Dutch promotion card by RCA Victor, Amsterdam, to promote the single Two Lovely Blue Eyes/Private Guide (1968).

Affair Play

In 1969 Marius Monkau appeared in the successful cabaret revue Met Man en Muis/With Man and Mouse starring Conny Stuart and Elsje de Wijn and written by Annie M.G. Schmidt.

A year later, he could be seen in the Dutch version of the hippy musical Hair (1970), in which he sang I’m black/Ain’t got no and Dead End. In 1970, he also represented the Netherlands at the Knokke Song Contest.

The next years he performed in the TV cabaret show ‘t Oproer kraait/The riot crows by Jaap van der Merwe and Rob Tauber. In 1972 he had a minor hit with his song Leven Zonder Liefde Is Zonde Om Te Leven (A life without love is not worthy to be lived).

Monkau appeared in the TV film Wassen en föhnen/Wash and blow-dry (Rob van der Linden, 1975) with Piet Römer, and in the popular children series Pipo en de lachplaneet/Pipo and the Laugh Planet (Paul Cammermans, 1976), starring Cor Witschge as Pipo the Clown.

His most recent film appearance, according to IMDb, is in the romantic thriller Affair Play (Roeland Kerbosch, 1995), starring Derek de Lint and Lysette Anthony. He also worked as an acting teacher.

Nowadays, Marius Monkau lives in Germany. His son Michael Monkau is a reporter for the Dutch TV news show Hart van Nederland (Heart of the Netherlands).

Marius Monkau sings Two Lovely Blue Eyes. Source: SlampSoul (YouTube).

Report about the musical Hair in the Netherlands. Source: VandaagVoorheen (YouTube).

Source: TheaterEncyclopedie (Dutch), Michael Monkau (Dutch), Een leven lang theater (Dutch), Wikipedia (Dutch) and IMDb.

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