08 April 2013

Claus Biederstaedt

German actor Claus Biederstaedt (1928) was a typical 'sonnyboy', the nice & friendly star of the Wirtschaftswunder cinema of the 1950’s. With his twinkling eyes he was the charming and funny young man in many German language comedies and melodramas and even in some war films.

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by WS-Druck, no. F 2. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / Bavaria.

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by Ufa, no. CK-80. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

First Kiss
Claus Biederstaedt was born in Stargard, Pommern, Germany (now Stargard Szczecinski, Poland) in 1928. While on grammar school, he had to join the German army. Back from the war, he studied acting with Joseph Offenbach and Will Quadflieg at the Deutschen Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and worked from 1950 on as a stage actor in Hamburg, Berlin, München, Köln and Wiesbaden. He made his film debut as a young assistant doctor in Die große Versuchung/The Great Temptation (1952, Rolf Hansen) starring Dieter Borsche. He won for his part the Bundesfilmpreis as the Best Young Actor in 1953. Next he played the lead in the comedy Liebeskrieg nach Noten/Love War on Notes (1953, Karl Hartl), a supporting role in Sauerbruch - Das war mein Leben/The Life of Surgeon Sauerbruch (1954, Rolf Hansen) – a biography of the brilliant surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch, and he gave the then 16-years old Romy Schneider her first kiss in Feuerwerk/Fireworks (1954, Kurt Hoffmann). One of his best films was Drei Männer im Schnee/Three Men in the Snow (1955, Kurt Hoffmann), based on the witty novel by Erich Kästner.

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag. Photo: Lilo / NDF / Schorchtfilm.

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. I 273. Photo: Wesel / Berolina.

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 7. Photo: Berolina / Constantin / Wesel.

Claus Biederstaedt
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 3690. Photo: Ufa/Film-Foto.

Beloved Romantic Actor
From then on Claus Biederstaedt was one of the most beloved romantic actors of the German cinema, the always nice and friendly 'sonnyboy'. He played opposite many of the young female stars of the 1950’s: Gardy Granass in Schwarzwaldmelodie/Black Forest Melody (1956, Géza von Bolváry) and Die Christel von der Post/Christel of the Post Office (1956, Karl Anton), Sabine Bethmann in Das Donkosakenlied/The Song of the Don Kosacks (1956, Géza von Bolváry), Susanne Cramer in Kleines Zelt und große Liebe/Two in a Sleeping Bag (1956, Rainer Geis) and Kindermädchen für Papa gesucht/Wanted: a Babysitter for Papa (1957, Hans Quest), Germaine Damar in Die Beine von Dolores/Dolores' Legs (1957, Geza von Cziffra) and Scala-total verrückt/Scala - Completely Gaga (1958, Erik Ode), Maj-Britt Nilsson in Was die Schwalbe sang/The Song of the Swallow (1956, Géza von Bolváry), and opposite Johanna von Koczian in Petersburger Nächte/Petersburg Nights (1958, Paul Martin). In 2004, he said in an interview with the German magazine Stern: "These films were not made to be broadcasted on television a half-century later. They arose from the time, the post-war period. People wanted to forget the smell of smoke and powder."

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), Berlin-Tempelhof), no. CK-81. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

Claus Biederstaedt
German postcard by WS-Druck, no. F 51. Photo: Ringpress / Vogelmann / Bavaria.

Claus Biederstaedt
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V. Rotterdam (Dutch licency holders of Ufa), no. 3688. Photo: Ufa/Film-Foto.

Claus Biederstaedt
Dutch postcard, printed by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam (Dutch licency holder for Ufa/Film-Foto - the Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof), no. 3717. Photo: Wesel / Berolina / Herzog Film.

Brainless Comedies and Heimat Films
Claus Biederstaedt continued to appear regularly in comedies and heimat films until the mid 1960’s. He had also a supporting part in the thriller Hotel der toten Gäste/The Hotel With the Dead Guests (1965, Eberhard Itzenplitz) starring Joachim Fuchsberger. He then started to act for TV films and was also busy as a voice actor for the synchronisation of foreign films. He lended his deep, husky voice to Marlon Brando in films like Queimada (1969, Gillo Pontecorvo) and Der letzte Tango in Paris/Ultimo tango a Parigi/Last Tango in Paris (1972, Bernardo Bertolucci), to Peter Falk in the detective TV series Columbo (1971-2003), to Yves Montand in films like César & Rosalie (1972, Claude Sautet) and Vincent, Francois, Paul et les autres/Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others (1974, Claude Sautet), and to many other international film stars. His last film role was in the sex comedy Auch ich war nur ein mittelmäßiger Schüler/I Wasn't a Very Good Student Either (1974, Werner Jacobs). He regularly appeared as a guest star in TV series like Die Schwarzwaldklinik/The Black Forest Clinic (1988), Der Alte/The Old Fox (1980-1989) and Derrick (1979-1993). In the 1980’s and 1990’s he also worked as a stage director. Till 2008, he regularly performed on stage. In 2011 the newspaper Bild reported that Biederstaedt had been operated for cancer and that three quarters of his tongue had been removed. So sadly, this handicap won't permit him to act anymore. Claus Biederstaedt married twice, and has a son from his first marriage. With his second wife Barbara, he lives in Eichenau near München (Munich).

Claus Biederstaedt sings Ein Leben lang verliebt (In love for a lifetime) to Romy Schneider in Feuerwerk (1954). Source: Fritz5169 (YouTube).

Claus Biederstaedt sings Schreib es mir tausendmal (Write It To Me Thousand Times) to Gardy Granass in Die Christel von der Post (1956). Source: Fritz5169 (YouTube).

Sources: Alexander Kühn (Stern) (German), Peter Hoffmann (biografie.de) (German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.


Titania said...

Peter, this is wonderful, so many memories come floating back. That is a great collection. He was always so well groomed! I remember faces and movies which I have forgotten since a long time.

Bob of Holland said...

Thank you for your nice comment! Paul.