Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Ewald Balser

 [These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Ewald Hermann Ludwig Balser was born in Elberfeld, Wuppertal, Germany on October 5, 1898. One of eleven children of a bricklayer, Balser learned the profession of an engraver at the Elberfeld School of Applied Arts and was a soldier from 1916 until he was wounded in 1917. After World War I, Hethen took acting lessons in 1916-1918 and began his stage career as an extra at the Stadttheater Barmen-Elberfeld, where he was discovered by the theater director Louise Dumont. Further stations were Basel (1923/1924) and Düsseldorf (1924-1928).

In 1935 Balser made his film debut in “Jana, das Mädchen aus dem Böhmerwald” (Jana, the Girl from the Bohemian Forest) directed by Robert Land, 1935.He then appeared in more than 58 films and television productions between 1935 and 1975. He became character actor, renowned for portraying larger-than-life historical figures. Invariably in heavy make-up, he generally appeared older than his actual age. Initially trained as a goldsmith, Balser forged a theatrical career in the 1920's, at the end of the decade joining the ensemble of the Vienna Burgtheater as actor/director. On stage, he played chiefly heroic roles in classical plays. On screen from 1935, he was critically acclaimed as Professor Sauerbruch, Beethoven, Emperor Franz Ferdinand and (in his best performance) as Rembrandt (1942). He made his mark in the world of entertainment when he acted in "Kinder, Mutter und ein General" (1955). Ewald concentrated largely on theatrical work during the 1960's.

Ewald was married twice, first to actress Vera Balser-Eberle [1897-1982] and then to Ernestine Bauer from 1932 to 1978.

He was honored with Ring of Honour of the City of Vienna (1958), the Grillparzer Ring (1966), the Kainz Medal (1968), Great Silver Medal of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1977).

He died of cancer on April 17, 1978, in Vienna, Austria at the age of 79.

His only Euro-western was as Caleb Gare in 1961’s “Ruf der Wildgänse” (The Cry of the Wild Geese). [Although not a true western in my book it is often sited in reference books as being a western film so I’ve included it in my database.]

BALSER, Ewald (Ewald Hermann Ludwig Balser) [10/5/1898, Elberfeld, Wuppertal, Germany – 4/17/1978, Vienna, Austria] – theater, film, TV actor, married to actress Vera Balser-Eberle (Vera Eberle) [1897–1982] (1923-1936), married to Ernestine Bauer [1911-2006] (1950-1978) father of actress Evelyn Balser.

Ruf der Wildgänse – 1961 (Caleb Gare)

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