Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remembering Raimund Harmstorf

Raimund Harmstorf was born on October 7, 1939 in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany. The son of a doctor Raimund started a sports career and soon became a regional master of the decathlon. He then studied medicine, later music and performing arts. From the beginning of the 1960s he started performing in small TV productions. His breakthrough came in 1971 with the TV series ‘The Sea-Wolf’, based on Jack London's novel, where he played the evil-minded Captain Larsen. Later in his career he appeared in several Euro-westerns westerns along with such stars as Bud Spencer, Franco Nero and Charlton Heston. Some of his better known films were “Call of the Wild” (1972) “White Fang” (1973), “California” (1975) and two of the “Thunder Warrior” films.
By the early 1990's, Harmstorf's life as an action hero began to unravel. He had sustained numerous sporting injuries (broken arms and legs, a hole in his knee after a botched operation), lost two teeth in a screen fight with Bud Spencer and was (during shooting of the same film) accidentally shot in the foot. His restaurant, "Zum Seewolf", had gone bankrupt. In 1994, Harmstorf was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. He unwisely self-medicated himself to the extent of causing severe side effects, including bouts of paranoia and depression. Scurrilous tabloids reported on the minutiae of his psychiatric condition and one even published a premature report of his suicide. What was left of Harmstorf's fragile state of mind broke and he hanged himself on the night of May 3 1998.
Today we remember Raimund Harmstorf on what would have been his 75th birthday.

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