Friday, December 6, 2013

Remembering Jan Hendriks

Jan Hendriks was born Heinz Joachim Hinz on December 6, 1928 in Berlin, Germany. During the 1940s he attended the drama school at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin. He played his first major stage roles at the Castle Park Theater under the direction of Boleslaw Barlog. He then travelled appearing in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. Film director Robert A. Stemmle hired his for his film “Sündige Grenze” in 1951. For his role he was awarded the German prize for Best Young Actor. He then appeared in the lead role “Der große Zapfenstreich” (1952), which lead to other leading roles during the decade.
In 1953 he received a prison sentence for a traffic accident caused by him when he was under the influence of alcohol. This was only a brief interruption of his career. After that, the character actor acted in more than fifty major and minor roles in film and television until the mid-1980s. In 1958, he starred in the multi-award -winning and even for the Oscar - nominated film comedy “Helden”.
Jan made the headlines again in 1963 after being involved in a serious motorcycle accident from which he was in a coma for several months, but had no lasting damage from it.
In the sixties, he was seen in some very successful Edgar Wallace films. He appeared in four Euro-westerns during this time: “Buffalo Bill, Hero fo the Far West” (1964), “Duel at Sundown” (1965). In addition, Hendriks worked as a voice actor, lending his voice to among others Humphrey Bogart, Anthony Quinn, Robert Stack and Robert Stephens. Jan was the German voice of Aldo Sambrell in “Face to Face” and Rick Boyd in “Run, Man, Run” (both 1967). By the end of the sixties his film work ended. After that, he worked successfully in television and played from 1977 to 1986 alongside Siegfried Lowitz in the TV crime series “Der Alte”. Occasionally, he was also seen in stage tours, where he appeared in 1988 in his last role.
Hendriks died on December 17, 1991. He was found in his Berlin apartment by police after they had been informed by neighbors. The cause of death was given as AIDS. In addition, he was diagnosed with diabetes which he fought for years. But after months of self-imposed isolation Hendriks starved to death in his apartment. The spread of the tabloids rumor that he was impoverished, was refuted by a six-figure sum of money in his estate.
Today we remember Jan Hendriks on what would have been his 85th birthday.

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