• Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Forward

Werner Peters

Cast
Werlitzsch (heute Wiedemar-Werlitzsch) Wiesbaden

Biography

Werner Peters, born July 7, 1918, in Werlitzsch, Saxony, grew up in Leipzig and attended drama school at Altes Theater Leipzig from 1935 to 1937. He made his stage debut in 1937 in the theatre stock role as the "teenage comic" in Stralsund. From then on, Peters worked at theatres in Leipzig, Kassel, and Mainz until 1941. With the start of World War II, his acting career was temporarily interrupted – Peters who was already drafted for military service in 1939, served as a soldier. After the end of the war, Peters performed at Städtische Bühnen Gera for a short period of time, until Erich Engel brought him to Munich"s Kammerspiele. But in 1947, Peters went to East Berlin"s Kammerspiele and then to Deutsches Theater Berlin where he performed on stage until 1952. Further stations of his theatre career include Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf (1955/56) and Berlin"s Schillertheater (1956 to 1958).

Werner Peters made his movie debut in 1947 in a small role in Harald Braun"s "Zwischen Gestern und Morgen" ("Between Yesterday and Tomorrow"). One year later, he was employed by DEFA and the DFF. Until his move to West Germany in 1955, Peters appeared in more than 20 film and TV productions – including his best known and most popular film, Wolfgang Staudtes "Der Untertan" ("The Kaiser’s Lackey", 1951). In Staudte"s masterly Heinrich Mann adaptation, Peters portrayed the quintessential German petty bourgeois in a brilliant way: His Dietrich Heßling is a plump, reactionist upstart – dull and jovial, smarmy and opportunistic, obedient, and recklessly power-hungry. Peters won the "Nationalpreis der DDR III. Klasse" for his performance. In West Germany, "Der Untertan" was banned by the censors for several years. When it finally premiered in 1957, the film was shortened by twelve minutes. A reconstructed version of the film was not shown in German cinemas until the mid-1980s.

 


Even after his migration to West Germany in 1955, Peters was able to continue his acting career with unabated success. In Robert Siodmak"s masterpiece "Nachts wenn der Teufel kam" ("The Devil Strikes at Night", 1956), Peters played a minor Nazi party official who is wrongly executed as a serial killer. This role won Peters the German film award in the category "Best supporting actor". Due to his strong portrayals of throughout shady characters in successful films such as the crime film "Der Greifer" ("The Copper", 1958), the drama "Das Mädchen Rosemarie" ("The Girl Rosemarie", 1958), or Wolfgang Staudte’s "Rosen für den Staatsanwalt" ("Roses for the Prosecutor", 1959), a bitter satire about a former Nazi, Peters was soon committed to the role types of shadowy rogues, declared criminals, or brutal military henchmen, for instance in several Karl May, Dr. Mabuse, and Edgar Wallace films, or in the US production "36 Hours" (1965), where Peters played a sadistic SS member alongside James Garner.

Until his death in 1971, Peters continued to be one of the most active and most productive actors of German cinema. Between 1960 and 1969 alone, he starred in more than 50 national and international movie productions. Furthermore, Peters set up the Berlin-based dubbing studio "Rondo-Film" in 1958 where he also worked as a dub voice actor and lent his voice to Hollywood stars like Rod Steiger, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasance, or Orson Welles (in "The Third Man").

On March 30, 1971, Werner Peters died of a heart attack during a stay in Wiesbaden.

The contents of this entry were funded with the support of the DEFA-Stiftung.

Filmografie

1970
  • Cast
1966/1967
  • Cast
1965-1967
  • Cast
1965
  • Cast
1964
  • Cast
1963/1964
  • Cast
1963/1964
  • Cast
1962/1963
  • Cast
1962/1963
  • Cast
1961
  • Cast
1959/1960
  • Cast
1959/1960
  • Cast
1959
  • Cast
1958
  • Cast
1958
  • Cast
1957/1958
  • Cast
1957/1958
  • Cast
1955
  • Cast
1955
  • Cast
1954/1955
  • Cast
1954/1955
  • Cast
1952/1953
  • Cast
1952/1953
  • Cast
1952
  • Cast
1951/1952
  • Cast
1951
  • Cast
1951
  • Cast
1949
  • Cast
1948/1949
  • Cast
1948/1949
  • Cast
1948
  • Cast