03 October 2013

Antonie Kamerling

Every year during the last week of September, Utrecht is the Dutch capital of film with the Netherlands Film Festival. During the festival, EFSP provides you daily with postcards of Dutch films and stars from the past. Handsome blonde Antonie Kamerling (1966-2010) was a Dutch television and film actor and musician. He started as a soap hunk, but soon played interesting roles in a variety of respected films and TV productions. His international films were less successful but he found a new and promising career in stage musicals. Then his suicide at 44 shocked the Netherlands.

Antonie Kamerling
Dutch postcard by Emdeehaa B.V., Oosterbeek. Photo: Grundy / JE. Publicity still for Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden/Good Times, Bad Times (1990-1995).

Soap Actor

Anthonie Willem Constantijn Gneomar Kamerling was born in Arnhem, the Netherlands in 1966. His younger sister is actress Liesbeth Kamerling.

Kamerling was still a law student when he was cast for a key role in the new Dutch prime time soap opera Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden/Good Times, Bad Times (1990). His character, Peter Kelder, quickly became one of the most popular on the program. On the set, he met actress Isa Hoes, and later married her.

In 1993 he got the lead in the film De Kleine Blonde Dood/The Little Blonde Death (Jean van de Velde, 1993), based on the novel by Boudewijn Büch. At the time, his casting was quite controversial, as soap actors were considered to be inferior to 'professional' actors. Kamerling eventually got nominated for a Gouden Kalf for best actor, the most important Dutch film award.

He played lead roles in the interesting TV film Respect (Eric Oosthoek, 1994) opposite Willem Nijholt, and the international production Suite 16 (Dominique Deruddere, 1994) as a gigolo manipulated by wheelchair-bound Pete Postlethwaite.

In 1997, he starred in another film by Van de Velde, the soccer comedy All Stars (Jean van de Velde, 1997). It was with more than 300,000 visitors a big hit in the Dutch cinemas.

For the film, he sang the theme song, Toen Ik Je Zag (When I Saw You), written by the popular Dutch singer Guus Meeuwis. The song was released as a single under his character's name, Hero, and soon was a number one hit on the Dutch charts. He formed the band Hero en de Hero's and recorded more singles and an album, but none of these made the charts.

He had more success on stage in such plays as Torch Song Trilogy (1997) with Paul de Leeuw, and Elisabeth (1999).

Antonie Kamerling
Dutch postcard by Sanyo en Fischer. Promotion card for the Nederlandse Artiesten Elftal (the Dutch Artists Soccer Team).

The Exorcist

In the new Millenium, Antonie Kamerling played in several more films. His most successful Dutch film was Ik ook van jou/I Love You Too (Ruud van Hemert, 2001), about the relationship between a young male student and a young woman (Angela Schijf) with borderline personality disorder.

He also played in television series like All Stars – De Serie (1999-2001) and the soap Onderweg naar morgen/ONM (2005).

He tried an international breakthrough with supporting parts in productions like Soul Assassin (Laurence Malkin, 2001), the thriller Mindhunters (Renny Harlin, 2004) starring LL Cool J, and as the cold hearted Nazi Officer Kessel in Exorcist: The Beginning (Renny Harlin, 2004), the fourth installment of The Exorcist series.

Exorcist: The Beginning was retooled from Paul Schrader's already completed Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, which Hollywood executives feared was not marketable. Mark Demming at AllMovie: “Renny Harlin brought a more visually aggressive approach to the story than Schrader's more contemplative vision. In 2004, Harlin's film, Exorcist: The Beginning, was released to middling critical and financial response, while the following year, Schrader's version went into limited release following film festival screenings.”

Later in his career, Kamerling played in Dutch stage musicals, including starring roles in Turks Fruit/Turkish Delight (2006-2007) and Sunset Boulevard (2008). For Turks Fruit, an original Dutch musical, he was nominated for the Musical Award for best actor.

Later films included the Bulgarian romantic drama Prima Primavera (János Edelényi, 2009) and the Hungarian drama Budapest (Walter Carvalho, 2009).

He also did a cameo as his soap character Peter Kelder in the hit comedy New Kids Turbo (Steffen Haars, Flip Van der Kuil, 2010).

Together with his wife, Kamerling did charity work with development organization Edukans, helping their efforts to provide basic education to underprivileged children in developing countries.

Antonie Kamerling suffered from depression for several years and in 2010, he committed suicide in his home in Zevenhoven, The Netherlands. He was 44 years old. He had two children with Isa Hoes, son Merlijn and daughter Vlinder.

After his death, his final role in the series Levenslied/Life Song (2010-2011) was screened on TV.

Trailer for Suite 16 (1994). Source: ReneHuybrechtse (YouTube).

Antonie Kamerling sings Toen Ik Je Zag in All Stars (1997). Source: Jeroen Sportel (YouTube).

Trailer The Exorcist, the beginning (2005). Source: OvoZootropo (YouTube).

Sources: Mark Demming (AllMovie), NRC.nl (Dutch), Wikipedia (English and Dutch) and IMDb.

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