15 May 2014

Susi Nicoletti

Bavarian-born actress Susi Nicoletti (1918–2005) was an eminent stage actress of the Burgtheater in Vienna. Today she is best remembered for her supporting roles in dozens of German film comedies of the 1940s and 1950s.

Susi Nicoletti
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3935/1. Photo: Wien Film / Hämmerer.


Susi Nicoletti was born as Susanne Emilie Luise Adele Habersack in Munich in 1918. Her parents were actress Consuella Nicoletti, and Ernst Habersack, boss of a shipping company. From 1921 to 1927, she lived with her parents in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Back in Munich, she made her stage debut at age 13 at the Kammerspiele in Munich and became solo dancer for the Munich Opera two years later. Around that time she joined the cabaret Die weißblaue Drehorgel. She also got acting training by Magda Lina.

Between 1936 and 1940, she was engaged by the Nürnberg city theatre. In 1939, she was offered her first film role in the short Schwarz und Blond/Black and Blond (Philipp von Zeska, 1939) with O.W. Fischer.

It was followed by a role in Mutterliebe/Mother Love (Gustav Ucicky, 1939).

In 1940 she moved to Vienna, where she became an ensemble member of the Burgtheater. She continued to appear in such German films as the comedy Oh, diese Männer/Oh, Those Men (Hubert Marischka, 1941) as the daughter of Georg Alexander and Grethe Weiser, the romantic drama Sommerliebe/Summer Love (1942) starring Winnie Markus, and Der zweite Schuß/The second shot (Martin Fric, 1943), in which she played the female lead.

Susi Nicoletti
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3001. Photo: Vogelmann / Paula Wessely-Film / Columbia.

Susi Nicoletti
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2025. Photo: Schorchtfilm. Publicity still for Die Liebe Familie/Dear Family (Helmut Weiss, 1957).

Comedian Harmonists

After the war, Susi Nicoletti continued her stage and film career. In 1946 she also began to perform at the Salzburg Festival.

Among the first post-war films were Das singende Haus/The Singing House (Franz Antel, 1947) and Philine (Theo Lingen, 1949).

She often played in comedies, such as Es schlägt 13/It strikes 13 (E.W. Emo, 1951) with Theo Lingen, Hallo Dienstmann/Hello Porter (Franz Antel, 1952) with Hans Moser and Paul Hörbiger, Mariandl (Werner Jacobs, 1961) with Conny Froboess, and the TV film Mein Freund Harvey/My Friend Harvey (Kurt Wilhelm, 1970) opposite Heinz Rühmann.

One of her best films was the Thomas Mann adaptation Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull/Confessions of Felix Krull (Kurt Hoffmann, 1957) starring Horst Buchholz.

From the mid-1950s on, Susi Nicoletti taught acting and dance at the prestigious Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. Among her students were Senta Berger, Erika Pluhar, Ute Lemper, Heidelinde Weis, Pia Douwes and Albert Fortell.

After her retirement at the Burgtheater in 1992 she continued her stage career at the Theater in der Josefstadt.

In the late 1990s she stopped teaching at the Max Reinhardt seminar. Her final films were Comedian Harmonists (Joseph Vilsmaier, 1997), the story of the famous, Weimar male sextet, and Am anderen Ende der Brücke/On the Other Side of the Bridge (Mei Hu, 2002) starring Nina Proll.

In 2005, Susi Nicoletti died in Vienna of complications after heart surgery, aged 86.

She was twice married. Her first husband was film businessman Ludwig Ptack. Her second husband, Ernst Häussermann, who had passed away in 1984, was an actor and director of the Burgtheater and the Theater in der Josefstadt. Their son, daughter and grandchildren live in the United States.

In 1977 she was awarded with the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class.

Susi Nicoletti
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden / Westf., no. 1989. Photo: Wien-Film / Deutsche London.Publicity still for Sonnenschein und Wollkenbruch/Sunshine and cloudburst (Rudolf Nussgruber, 1955).

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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