Dieter Thomas Heck, born as Carl-Dieter Heckscher on December 29, 1937, in Flensburg, graduated from an apprenticeship as a merchant and subsequently worked as a car salesman. At this time, he already took singing lessons (initially to get rid of his stutter) and eventually got started in show business via a job at Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden.
Until the end of the 1960s, Heck hosted several pop music shows for Radio Luxemburg and for Europawelle Saar. In early 1969, he made his final breakthrough with the TV show "ZDF-Hitparade": Within a few months, the show turned out to be the most successful format in German TV. Heck himself became the most popular TV host of the nation and developed his trademark: in his fast-paced winding up remarks he read the names of all people who were involved in the production of the show. During the following decades, Heck hosted a large number of successful TV shows, including the quiz show "Die Pyramide" (from 1978 on) and the popular music show "Melodien für Millionen" (from 1985 on). Besides his career as a TV host, Heck occasionally appeared as an actor in movies and TV series – and sometimes thwarted his image as a gallant and likeable darling of the public, for instance, in "Das Millionenspiel" ("The Millions Game", 1970) or in "Manta – Der Film" (1991). In 2007, he withdrew from his active career in show business after his contract with ZDF was not renewed. In 2017, he was awarded the lifetime achievement award at "Goldene Kamera".
On August 23, 2018, Dieter Thomas Heck died at the age of 80.