07 April 2013

Johanna von Koczian

Johanna von Koczian (1933) was in the late 1950s and early 1960s one of Germany’s most popular film stars. Later, she evolved into a stage actress, a popular Schlager singer, a TV presenter, and a successful author of novels and children books.

Johanna von Koczian
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-60. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Central Europa Film.

Johanna von Koczian
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-64. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Central Europa Film.

Crossdressing Comedy
Johanna von Koczian was born in Berlin as Johanna von Miskoczy in Berlin in 1933. She was the daughter of Gustav von Koczian-Miskolcy, a German soldier, and his wife Lydia Alexandra. She grew up in Austria, where she studied at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Mozarteum in Salzburg. Here, she was discovered by director Gustaf Gründgens , who gave her a role at the Salzburg Theater Festival. Her breakthrough in the theatre was her role of Anne Frank at the Schiller Theater in Berlin. Her first film role was the lead in the remake of the famous crossdressing comedy Viktor und Viktoria/Viktor and Viktoria (1957, Karl Anton) with Georg Thomalla and Johannes Heesters. The next year she played the female lead in the box office hit Wir Wunderkinder/Aren't We Wonderful? (1958, Kurt Hoffmann) with Hansjörg Felmy. For her role she was awarded the Bundesfilmpreis (Federal Film Prize).

Johanna von Koczian
German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto (Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft), Berlin, no. FK 3553. Retail price: 25 Pfg. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Prisma Film. Publicity still for Viktor und Viktoria/Viktor and Viktoria (1957, Karl Anton).

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, Kurt Hoffmann).

Johanna von Koczian
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden / Westfalen, ca. 1959-1960. Photo: Corona / Constantin / Filipp. Publicity postcard for Serenade einer Grossen Liebe/For the First Time (1959, Rudolph Maté). This musical was an American/German/Italian coproduction starring opera singer Mario Lanza.

One of the most popular German Film Stars
In the later 1950's, Johanna von Koczian was one of the most popular German film stars and played in films like Petersburger Nächte/Petersburg Nights (1958, Paul Martin) with Ewald Balser, Ivan Desny and Claus Biederstaedt, Bezaubernde Arabella/Enchanting Arabella (1959, Axel von Ambesser) based on a novel by Georgette Heyer, Menschen im Netz/People in the Net (1959, Franz Peter Wirth) again with Hansjörg Felmy, the musical Jacqueline (1959, Wolfgang Liebeneiner), as Anastasia in the Friedrich Dürrenmatt adaptation Die Ehe des Herrn Mississippi/The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi (1961, Kurt Hoffmann) with O.E. Hasse, Unser Haus in Kamerun/Our House in Cameroun (1961, Alfred Vohrer) with Götz George, and the drama Straße der Verheißung/Street of Temptation (1962, Imo Moszkowicz) with Mario Adorf and Karin Baal. From 1962 on, she was mainly working on stage for several different companies. She often starred in Boulevard comedies. She also appeared in popular TV series like Praxis Bülowbogen (Practice Bülowbogen) (1987-1988), and as Dr. Cora in the satire show Fragen Sie Frau Dr. Cora (Ask Doctor Cora) (1989). She only made two more feature films, the episodic film Das Liebeskarussell/The Daisy Chain (1965, Rolf Thiele, Axel von Ambesser, Alfred Weidenmann) and Käpt'n Rauhbein aus St. Pauli/Nurses for Sale (1971, Rolf Olsen) with Curd Jürgens.

Johanna von Koczian
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 125. Photo: Constantin.

Johanna von Koczian
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin Tempelhof (UFA), no. CK 303. Photo: Klaus Collignon / UFA.

Johanna von Koczian
Belgian postcard by Cox, no. 23.

Successful Children Books
During the course of her career Johanna von Koczian appeared on the stages of the Schauspielhaus in Wuppertal, the Staatlichen Schauspielbühnen (State Theater) in Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsschauspiel(Bavarian State Theater) in Munich, the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna and the Hamburg Thalia Theater under the direction of Boy Gobert. In 1977 she had a major hit single in Germany and Austria with her song Das bißchen Haushalt (The Little Bit of Homemaking), mocking about a macho husband's attitude towards a homemaker's duties. Other popular schlagers of her include Keinen Pfennig (No Penny)(1974), Aufsteh'n ist schön (Getting Up Is Beautiful) (1978) and Karl, gib' mal den Hammer rüber (Karl, Hand Me the Hammer)(1979), which she often performed on TV.
For the German public television she also presented the music quiz Erkennen Sie die Melodie? (Do You Recognize This Melody?). She appeared in popular Krimis like Derrick (1975-1978), Der Alte/The Old Fox (1983), Tatort (1986-1987) and SOKO 5113 (2002). She played in the popular TV film Single Bells (1998, Xaver Schwarzenberger) and its sequel O Palmenbaum/O Palm Tree (2000, Xaver Schwarzenberger). More recently she appeared in the popular series Die Landärztin/The Country Doctor (2005-2009). Since the 1980’s she wrote successful children's books and such novels as Sommerschatten (Summer Shadows)(1989) and Das Narrenspiel (The Fool's Game) (1992). She was married twice, first shortly to director Dietrich Haugk who directed her in the films Heldinnen/Heroes (1960) and Agatha, laß das Morden sein!/Agatha, stop killing! (1960), and after their divorce she was married to music producer Wolf Kabitzky till his death in 2004. Johanna von Koczian is the mother of actress Alexandra von Koczian.

Scene from Wir Wunderkinder/Aren't We Wonderful? (1958). Source: LadyViolet7 (YouTube).

Johanna von Koczian sings Das bisschen Haushalt (1978) in a German TV show. Source: Fritz 5147 (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-Line) (German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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