Otto Herman Max Brandenburg was born in Hejnsvig, Vestjylland, Denmark on September 4, 1934. Otto grew up on PD Løvs Allé in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen. His schooling included Stevns Skole, and he apprenticed as a machinist at a nearby factory in Wayland. In his spare time he played in Ib Glindemann’s Big Band. He was also a Copenhagen boxing champion in 1953.
Brandenburg was also known by the nickname "baggårdspumaen". It was supposedly from his slouching walk, which had shades of the boxer himself.
For several years he shared an apartment with comedian George Back in Nørrebro.
Otto made his musical debut in 1955 in the ensemble ‘Four Jacks’, but quickly became a soloist and was proclaimed the Danish rock and twist-king. He played his pop repertoire of songs and jazz and was also used frequently as an actor. He released albums for EMI in Sweden and Germany, and went to Germany under the name "Ole Brandenburg". In 1960 he participated in the Danish Eurovision with the song “To Lys På Et Bord” (Two Light On A Table), which did not win but, he received a national plaque. In 1962 he participated in the Swedish Grand Prix. In 1969 he tried new musical paths with his own text to an American tune of the Christmas song "Soren Banjomus", which he sang to timeless success.
In the 1970s he formed a duet with Vivi Bach, whom he later married, and in 1980 he used a repertoire by Halfdan Rasmussen and Evert Taube. Over the years he was seen often in various shows and television appearances. In later years Brandenburg kept a lower profile.
For his roles in the films he appeared in “Hør, var der ikke en som lo?” and “Gummi Tarzan” for which he received a Critics' Award. He also starred in Lars von Trier's films “Riget I” and “Riget II”.
In 1996, Brandenburg starred in the Disney Pixar animated film “Toy Story” with the song "You've Got a Friend In Me" (Danish: " Du er min bedste ven") originally written and also sung in the American version of the film by Randy Newman.
Brandenburg's last role was as hanbjørnen (voice) in the animated film “The Boy Who Wanted to Be” in 2002.
Brandenburg had several controversial episodes in his life because of drinking.
In the last years of his life Brandenburg lives a reclusive life with his girlfriend for many years television producer Hanne Mynster in a townhouse in Kongens Lyngby. Hanne, the house, the herbaceous border and enjoyment of his children and grandchildren were the things that mattered most to him.
BRANDENBURG, Otto (Ole Brandeburg, Otto Herman Max Brandenburg) [9/4/1934, Hejnsvig, Vestjylland, Denmark - 3/1/2007, Copenhagen, Denmark] - boxer, singer, musician (guitar), voice actor, member of the groups ‘Ib Glindemann Big Band’, ‘Four Jacks’ [1956-1958], married to singer, actress Vivi Bach [1939-2013] (1963-1964).
Gold for the Tough Guys of the Prairie - 1971 (cowboy)