20 June 2013

Eddi Arent (1925-2013)

A few days ago became known that German actor, cabaret artist and comedian Eddi Arent (1925-2013) has died on 28 May. Arent appeared in 104 films since 1956, and was best known as the comic sidekick in the Edgar Wallace and Karl May films of the 1960s. He was 88.

Eddi Arent ()
German postcard, no. R 28. Photo: publicity still for Winnetou 2. Teil/ Last of the Renegades (Harald Reinl, 1964).

Edgar Wallace
Eddi Arent was born Gebhardt Georg Arendt in Danzig, now Gdansk, Poland in 1925. His father was the head of the Danzig water plant. After high school, he had to serve in the army at the Eastern front. After the war he began to work as a cabaret artist. He acted in Jürgen Henckell’s literary cabaret Der Widerspiegel, which was the first cabaret in the French occupation zone. He worked briefly together with Werner Finck in his Mausefalle (Mousetrap) in Stuttgart and was a contributor to Der Zwiebel (the Onion) in Munich. The talented comedian was not attracted to the theatre, and only incidentally made stage appearances. In 1958, Arent had his first major film role in the war drama Der Arzt von Stalingrad/The Doctor of Stalingrad (Géza von Radványi, 1958) with O.E. Hasse. Arent became known as a mannered butler in the Edgar Wallace thriller Der Frosch mit der Maske/Faces of the Frog (Harald Reinl, 1959) starring Joachim Fuchsberger. Next he played a bumbling police photographer and an assistant detective in other Edgar Wallace films, produced by Horst Wendlandt. Later, he even was the villain in Der unheimliche Mönch/The Sinister Monk (Harald Reinl, 1965).

Pierre Brice, Karin Dor
German postcard, no. R 24. Photo: still from Winnetou - 2. Teil/Last of the Renegades (Harald Reinl, 1964) with Karin Dor as Ribanna and Pierre Brice as Winnetou.

Karl May
Eddi Arent appeared in three the Karl May Westerns, Der Schatz im Silbersee/The Treasure of Silver Lake (Harald Reinl, 1962), Winnetou 2. Teil/Last of the Renegades (Harald Reinl, 1964) and Winnetou und Shatterhand im Tal der Toten/ Winnetou and Shatterhand in the Valley of Death (Harald Reinl, 1968). He became very popular as the quirky Lord Castlepool who travels with Winnetou (Pierre Brice) and Old Shatterhand (Lex Barker) through the Wild West. The easy-going Arents was an effective and loyal trooper and many directors liked to work with him. On his film resume are thrillers, comedies and Schlagerfilms. Arent worked in the cinema till the late 1970s. Then he moved over to television. He was very successful with the sketch series Es ist angerichtet/It is done. He had his last major success on the side of Harald Juhnke in the television series Harald und Eddi/Harald and Eddi (1987). In 1997 he was awarded with the Scharlih-Preis, the famous Karl May award. Until the beginning of the 21st Century, he was still active as an actor. Arents feature was especially his subtle humour. With almost immovable countenance, he could tear jokes - and let his audience laugh tears. Since 1993, he and his wife Franziska Ganslmeier ran a hotel in Titisee-Neustadt in the Black Forest, but their Neustadter Hof went bankrupt in 2005. His wife died in 2011. In recent years, Eddi Arent lived in a retirement home in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) and finally with his only son in Munich. Arent was suffering from dementia and died in Munich at the age of 88.

Short scene from the Edgar Wallace thriller Der Zinker (1963). Source: Vandurkan (YouTube).

Harald Juhnke & Eddi Arent in the sketch Gast und Kellner (1987). Source: fritz51249 (YouTube),

Sources: T Online (German), Wikipedia (German and English), and IMDb.

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