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Heinz Erhardt

Cast, Screenplay, Miscellaneous, Music
Riga, Russland (heute Lettland) Hamburg

Biography

Heinz Erhardt was born February 20, 1909, in Riga, and at first grew up with his grandparents. From 1919 to 1924, he attended a boarding school in Barsinghausen and a high school in Hannover, before he attended Deutsches Gymnasium in Riga from 1924 to 1926.

From 1926 to 1928, Erhardt worked as a trainee at a Leipzig music store and at the same time attended an education in piano and composition at Leipzig"s Konservatorium. From 1928 to 1938, Erhardt worked in Riga in the art and music store of his grandfather who also ran a concert artists" agency and was a music publisher. Erhardt performed in coffee houses, and appeared as a conférencier and elocutionist at German-Baltic events and galas. From 1932 on, he composed performances for Deutsches Schauspiel. But he failed in his attempt to establish himself as an entertainment musician in Berlin in 1933.

In 1937, Erhardt started to perform his own songs in shows of the radio stations Königsberg and Danzig. In 1938, he made performances in Breslau. In the same year, Willi Schaeffers signed him as a comedian for Berlin"s Kabarett der Komiker. Erhardt performed at Scala and wrote songs like "Fräulein Mabel". In November 1941, he was drafted for the Naval music corps in Stralsund but was later assigned to do troop entertainment and was moved to Kiel.

After a short time in British detention near Kiel, Erhardt moved to Hamburg in the summer of 1945. For the NWDR, he created the weekly show "So was Dummes" and wrote and spoke "Glosse der Woche". In 1946, he made his theatre debut in Hamburg and in 1948, his chevalier drama "Die Zehn-Pfennig-Oper" premiered on the NWDR. In the period that followed, he made guest performances at evenings of music and entertainment, wrote humorous books and produced records.

After several supporting roles, Erhardt intensified his film career from the mid-1950s on and played his first leading role in "Der müde Theodor" ("Tired Theodore", 1957). From then on, his films were particularly developed for his character and he became known for his low puns, his neologisms, his contortion of sentences, and his fussy manner of speaking. Thereby, he always exuded an air of friendly humanity. As "Witwer mit 5 Töchtern" ("Widower with 5 Daughters", 1957), as choleric landlord in "Der Haustyrann" (1958), or as grumpy policeman in "Natürlich die Autofahrer" (1959), Erhardt stayed true to his pattern of a rough exterior that hides a heart of gold. His "man in the street" who is going to make his way – when the bigwigs allowed him to do so – offered his audience the opportunity to identify with his characters.

 


From the beginning of the 1960s on, Erhardt appeared less frequently on the movie screen. In supporting roles, he still enriched ice skating revues and entertainment films that promoted pop songs. In 1960, Erhardt set up his production company Heinz Erhardt-Produktion (HEP) that not only produced commercials but also allowed Erhardt to appear less as a slapstick character in his own TV movies, as he did in his movie roles alongside Trude Herr or Grethe Weiser, Peter Weck or Peter Alexander, in films directed by Helmuth M. Backhaus or Franz Antel.

Erhardt then developed his correspondent alter ego in the character of the financial accountant "Willi Winzig" (1962). He also appeared in comic inserts in film versions of Karl May novels and in TV operettas and hosted TV entertainment shows like "Baden-Badener Roulette" (1971), appeared as a guest on numerous TV shows and toured Germany as a reciter of his own works from 1968 on. In 1969, Wolfgang Staudte put him into his ensemble of well-off would-be crooks for his film "Die Herren mit der weißen Weste" ("Gentlemen in White Vests"), before Erhardt varied his signature role of Willi Winzig in four "Willi" films at the end of his movie career.

Heinz Erhardt was married to Gilda Zanetti, the daughter of an Italian consul in St. Petersburg, since 1935. On December 12, 1971, Erhardt suffered a stroke that led to paralysis of his right side and to aphasia. He died on June 5, 1979, in his house in Hamburg-Wellingsbüttel. At the beginning of the 1980s, his films returned to the movie screens after they had been rediscovered by young academics. The circulation of his records and books also reached new records.

Filmografie

1984
  • Miscellaneous
1978/1979
  • Cast
  • Screenplay
  • based on
  • Music
1970
  • Cast
  • Screenplay
1969
  • Cast
1967/1968
  • Cast
1965
  • Cast
1964
  • Cast
1964
  • Cast
1963/1964
  • Cast
1961
  • Cast
  • Vocals
1961
  • Cast
1958/1959
  • Cast
1957
  • Cast
  • Vocals
  • Lyrics
1956
  • Cast
1950
  • Cast
1948/1949
  • Cast
1948
  • Cast