Weitere Namen
Ingeborg Charlotte Meysel (Geburtsname)
Cast
Berlin Bullenhausen bei Hamburg

Biography

Inge Meysel was born as Ingeborg Charlotte Hansen in Berlin on May 30th 1910. The daughter of protestant Dane Margarete Dagmar Antonie Luise Hansen and Jewish tobacco trader Julius Meysel left school before graduation to study acting under Ilka Grüning. Following her first auditions, she debuted in 1930 at the Stadttheater in Zwickau.

Following several theatre engagements, she made her first screen appearance in 1932 in "Großstadtnacht". The same year, she played the lead in the staging of Ludwig Fulda's "Fräulein Frau" at the Renaissance-Theater in Berlin, and later performed at the Schauspielhaus Leipzig in "Rauhnacht" and – alongside her then life partner Helmut Rudolph – in Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors".

Since she was considered a "Half-Jew" according to the Nazi race laws, Inge Meysel received a stage ban in August 1933, which was followed by a complete occupational ban in August 1935. Together with Rudolph, she first worked in the Free City of Danzig, before the couple relocated via Dresden to Hamburg in 1936. In 1942, the Gestapo ordered Meysel and Rudolph to end their cohabitation. She got jobs as a switchboard operator, design draftsman and in a parachute factory. After the war, Meysel –whose father survived the Holocaust in a hideout provided by his former secretary – and Rudolph got married, but the couple divorced again in 1947.

In September 1945, Meysel's appearance in a staging of Hofmannsthal's "Jedermann" at the St. Johannis church in Hamburg marked her comeback as an actress after a forced 12 year-long hiatus. In April 1946, she performed in Molières "Tartüff" at the Thalia in Hamburg. She remained an ensemble member of the renowned theatre until 1970, excelling in numerous celebrated stagings, including Hauptmann's "Die Ratten". Meysel also often guested at other theatres, especially in Berlin.

A role in "Liebe 1947" brought her back to the cinema. This was followed by screen performances in "Taxi-Kitty", "Kommen sie am Ersten" und "Wunschkonzert". She was equally convincing in dramatic and comic parts, proven by her roles in "Dr. Crippen lebt", "Als geheilt entlassen" and "Rosen für den Staatsanwalt". Moreover, she starred in movie adaptations of her stage successes "Im sechsten Stock" and "Ihr schönster Tag".

 

From 1953 on, Inge Meysel also appeared regularly in television – which led to her immense popularity –, and at first mainly in TV plays based on her theatre work. These were often directed by John Olden, to whom Meysel was also married from 1957 up to Olden"s death in 1965. Apart from comedies, she also brilliantly mastered the tragic roles in the TV adaptations of "Der Biberpelz" and "Die Ratten".

The attribute "TV Mother of the Nation", which was to follow her for the rest of her career, came with the role of feisty matriarch Käthe Scholz in the seven-part series "Die Unverbesserlichen". Later, she deliberately tried to subvert this dominant image with controversial mother roles in productions like "Eine geschiedene Frau" and "Mütter". Another significant character was the resolute cleaning lady Mrs. Harris, whom Meysel played in several TV plays from 1969 on. In 1971, she left the Thalia for the Renaissance-Theater in Berlin, and this was followed by numerous guest performances and tours, for instance alongside Helmut Käutner in the staging of "Ehekarussell".

The 1980 production "Der rote Strumpf" marked her last return to the big screen, and Meysel from then on exclusively worked for TV and in the theatre. In "Die kluge Witwe" (1981), she convincingly embodied a woman who confronts the social and personal effects of age. She repeated her new role as the confident and rebellious senior citizen in "Frau Juliane Winkler", "Kein pflegeleichter Fall" and "Großmutters Courage". Among her other memorable TV performances are the clever granny she played in several episodes of "Polizeiruf 110", and her moving portrayal of an elderly woman who is locked away in an asylum in "Das vergessene Leben".

In 1995, Meysel ended her theatre career with a performance of "Teures Glück" at the Bernhard-Theater in Zurich.

Apart from her work as an artist, Inge Meyel often participated actively in political debates and frequently campaigned for feminist and social causes. Over the years, the argumentative actress received numerous prestigious prizes, both for her body of work and her personal engagement. Notably, she refused to accept the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1981, pointing out that her Jewish father was deprived of his Iron Cross by the Nazis in 1933.

Inge Meysel passed away in Hamburg on July 10th 2004.

FILMOGRAFIE

1999/2000
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1996
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1995/1996
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1995
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1994/1995
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1993
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1992
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1986
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1984
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1980/1981
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1975/1976
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1974
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1964/1965
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1961/1962
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1961
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1957/1958
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1954/1955
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1951
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1950
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1948/1949
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