Monday, January 24, 2011
RIP Hellmut Lange
He was one of the most distinctive and important television actor of the 1960s and early 1970s. Hellmut Lange, German actor in dozens of movies and TV series and a pioneer of the West German Radio, has died. Lange passed away on January 13, 2010 after a long battle with dementia. He died in Berlin a few days before his 88th birthday said his wife Ingrid on Monday.
Hellmut born on January 19, 1923 in Berlin and had the title role in the four-part 1969 TV series "The Leatherstocking Tales”. His last major TV appearance was in 1995 in the Sat.1-production "Ferry to Death." There he played the lead investigator, who must judge the crew of a sunken ferry. Even as a little boy he played children's parts on Berlin Radio. From 1946 to 1948 he attended acting school in Hanover. His first stage engagements were in the young theater in Munich and Stuttgart. For 50 years, Lange worked as a director and spokesman for Radio Bremen.
The "exciting years," he once called his time in film and television in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He is best known as host of the ARD television quiz series "Do You Know Movies?" Which ran from 1971 to 1981. Remembered above all for his starring roles such TV series and films such as “The Leatherstocking Tales”, "The Scarf", "The Deerslayer" and "The Last of the Mohicans."
In the postwar period acting was an "unprofitable art”, he said in an interview. Only five marks he received per performance. For the first time he appeared on TV at the end of the 1950's in the "Steel Mesh - Oberhausen Murder Case." Then, his first major role in "Forest Home Road 20", the first feature-length film on German television. Here he played a Swedish pastor who hid Jews in his church.
Lange was also in several German comedy films. He appeared in 1965 as "006" in Michael Pfleger’s James Bond spoof "Serenade for Two Spies" alongside Heath Weis. Whether as Northumberland in the television film "Richard II" or as in "Leatherstocking Tales" - he played the man with the wrinkled face in such historical works as the war-tested soldier in “Hitler - A Film from Germany" or as in the documentary feature on the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Lange was not spared the blows of life. In 1965, his three year old son Jonathan drowned in the Würm in Bavaria while fishing. "The worst thing was I was not there," Long said later. At the time he was shooting a film in America. Long retired and last lived in Berlin, where he is to be buried in the coming days by his immediate family.