22 August 2018

Walter Giller

German actor Walter Giller (1927-2011) was the cute boy next door of the German cinema of the 1950s. With Nadja Tiller he became a Dream Couple of the European cinema.

Walter Giller
German postcard by Ufa, no. CK-44. Photo: Arthur Grimm / Ufa.

Walter Giller in Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1955)
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. W 1621. Photo: Berolina / Herzog-Film / Wesel. Publicity still for Die Drei von der Tankstelle/The Three from the Filling Station (Hans Wolff, 1955).

Walter Giller in Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (1956)
German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3206. Photo: Gabriele / Real Film / Europa. Publicity still for Der Hauptmann von Köpenick/The Captain from Koepenick (Helmut Käutner, 1956).

Walter Giller (1927-2011)
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 708. Photo: Filmaufbau.

Prisoner of War

Walter Giller was born in Recklinghausen, Germany in 1927. He was the son of the children’s doctor Dr. Walter Giller and Edwine Giller-Röver and grew up in the Hamburg borough of Hamm.

In 1942, at the age of 15, the grammar school pupil was ordered to serve as a Flakhelfer (a German student deployed as child soldier during World War II) in anti-aircraft support. In 1944, Giller became a prisoner of war but got released after staying in a sanatorium for one year to recuperate from a torn lung.

Giller then started to study medicine but soon quit his studies to become a trainee at Hamburg's Kammerspiele (Chamber Theatre) where he also worked as an assistant director.

He later attended actor's training and worked as a supporting actor and assistant director. Giller made his film debut in Artistenblut/Artist’s Blood (Wolfgang Wehrum, 1949) starring Hans Richter, which was followed by Kein Engel ist so rein/No Angel Is As Pure (Helmut Weiss, 1950).

Walter Giller
East-German card by VEB Progress Film-Vertreib, Berlin, no. 27/322, 1957. Photo: Real Film. Publicity still for Die Tolle Lola (Hans Deppe, 1954).

Walter Giller, Adrian Hoven and Walter Müller in Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1955)
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1777. Photo: Berolina / Herzog-Film / Wesel. Publicity still for Die Drei von der Tankstelle/The Three from the Filling Station (Hans Wolff, 1955) with Adrian Hoven and Walter Müller.

Walter Giller in Charleys Tante (1956)
German postcard by Kunst und Bild, Berlin, no. S 559. Photo: Bertolina / Constantin / Wesel. Publicity still for Charleys Tante/Charley's Aunt (Hans Quest, 1956).

Kurt Reimann, Walter Giller and Hans Richter in Schwarzwaldmelodie (1956)
German postcard by Netter's Starverlag, Berlin. Photo: publicity still for Schwarzwaldmelodie/Black Forest Melody (Géza von Bolváry, 1956) with Kurt Reimann and Hans Richter.

Shy Teenage Lover

Walter Giller mainly appeared in the part of the shy teenage lover, for instance as a student in Primanerinnen/Sixth-Formers (Rolf Thiele, 1951) with Ingrid Andree.

In 1953, Giller quit working at the theatre to focus on his film career, and soon started to play comic roles in light entertainment films like Liebe im Finanzamt/Love in the Tax Office (Kurt Hoffmann, 1952), Skandal im Mädchenpensionat/Scandal at the Girls' School (Erich Kobler, 1953) with Marianne Koch, and An jedem Finger zehn/Ten on Every Finger (Erik Ode, 1954) with Germaine Damar.

Often comical, often shy, but always cute and never abusive, Walter Giller represented in numerous productions the boy next door.

In 1956 Giller married beautiful actress Nadja Tiller. In the 1950s and 1960s they were seen as a Traumpaar (Dream Couple) of the German entertainment world.

Giller played next to Heinz Rühmann in the classic comedy Der Hauptmann von Köpenick/The Captain from Köpenick (Helmut Käutner, 1956).

In 1959 he won the Bundesfilmpreis for his role in Rosen für den Staatsanwalt/Roses for the Prosecutor (Wolfgang Staudte, 1959) as a man sentenced to death for a minor offence during the last months of the war who meets his judge (Martin Held) after the war.

Two years later Giller won the the Bundesfilmpreis again for his role as a trucker from East Berlin in the East-West drama Zwei unter Millionen/Two Among Millions (Victor Vicas, Wieland Liebske, 1961).

Nadja Tiller, Walter Giller
With Nadja Tiller. German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 47. Photo: Huster.

Walter Giller
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. 146. Retail price: 10 Pfg. Photo: Arthur Grimm.

Walter Giller
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. 22. Photo: Arca / NF / v. Mindszenty.

Predestined for a Great Film Career

Walter Giller seemed predestined for a great film career, but in the 1960s he appeared mainly in Krimis (German crime films), Karl May Westerns and Pauker comedies.

He starred in the international production Fanny Hill (Russ Meyer, 1964) and in a remake of the Heinz Rühmann success Die Feuerzangenbowle/The Fire Tongue Bowl (Helmut Käutner, 1970) but to no avail.

One of Walter Giller's few important roles was the part as writer Daddy in the Kurt Tucholsky adaptation Schloss Gripsholm/The Gripsholm Castle (Kurt Hoffmann, 1963).

He also played the lead in the award winning TV film Der geborgte Weihnachtsbaum/The Borrowed Christmas Tree (Dietrich Haugk, 1966).

From the 1970s on, he changed his focus to television series as Das Traumschiff/The Dream Boat (1983) and Sylter Geschichten/Tales From Sylt (Karsten Wichniarz, 1995).

He intensified his stage work, and did many tours, often together with Nadja Tiller. In 2006 the duo won a Bambi award for their lifetime achievements.

In 2009, about 30 years after his last appearance in the cinema, director Leander Haußmann rediscovered Walter Giller for the big screen. In the comedy Dinosaurier – Gegen uns seht ihr alt aus!/Dinosaur (Leander Haußmann, 2009), he plays a member of a spritely gang of pensioners alongside Eva-Maria Hagen, Ezard Haußmann, and Nadja Tiller.

In 2009, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He underwent a major (but unsuccessful) operation.

Walter Giller died in 2011 in a retirement home in Hamburg, aged 84. He and Tiller had a daughter, Natascha, and a son, Jan-Claudius.

Walter Giller
German postcard by ISV, no. M 3. Photo: Europa Film / Arthur Grimm.

Walter Giller
Big German card by ISV, no. MX 3. Photo: Europa Film / Arthur Grimm.

Walter Giller in Liebe auf krummen Beinen (1959)
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2675. Photo: Divina / Bavaria. Publicity still for Liebe auf krummen Beinen (Thomas Engel, 1959).

Walter Giller and Wilma in Klassenkeile
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg, no. 5009, 1969. Photo: Constantin / Rialto / Vogelmann. Publicity still for Klassenkeile/Spanking at School (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1969) with Wilma.

Sources: Tom B. (Boot Hill), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia, Prisma, and IMDb.


Bunched Undies said...

Wonderful blog. I'll be adding a link.

COCAMIA said...

He was very handsome!

Paul van Yperen said...

Yes, so cute. Thanks for your comments.

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