German pop singer and actor Fred Bertelman died at his home in Berg, Bavaria, Germany. He was 88. Bertelmann sold over 40 million records. His super hit was "Der lachende Vagabund" made in 1957. "The song made me rich and famous." Bertelman once said in an interview. The record sold five million copies. The song was an integral part of his stage performances and led to his making films, records and other musical performances in the United States possible. Other successful titles were "In Hamburg sind die Nächte lang", "Arrivederci Roma" und "Wenn es Nacht wird in Montana".
Bertelmann was one of the most successful German pop artist in the fifties and sixties. Born in Duisburg, the singer last lived in Berg am Starnberger See. He was married to the former television presenter and actress Ruth Kappelsberger since 1966. In the course of his career Bertelsmann sold more than 40 million records. Many of his tunes have become standards.
Decisive in his formative were his experiences as an American prisoner of war. There Bertelmann learned of the swing music of Glenn Miller. "The Americans have given us music and musical instruments. Imprisonment was forever the foundation of everything," Bertelmann once said .
After the return from captivity Bertelmann started a band and then performed as a singer with a Swedish orchestra. In order to finance his vocal studies, he played Dixie and Swing music in Nuremberg bars.
Fred appeared and performed in the 1966 Euro-western musical "A Fistful of Songs" and sang the song “Wenn ich dich anseh”.