Gustaf Gründgens

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Gustav Heinrich Arnold Gründgens

Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Death: Died in Manila, Philippines
Cause of death: Selbstmord / Suicide ??
Place of Burial: Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, Hamburg, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Gustav Johann Peter Gründgens and Emmy Gründgens
Ex-husband of Erika Julia Hedwig Mann and Marianne Hoppe
Brother of Marita Gründgens
Half brother of Arnoldine Cornelia Arnold

Occupation: Schauspieler, Intendant, Kulturfunktionär, Regisseur
Managed by: Thomas Föhl (c)
Last Updated:

About Gustaf Gründgensündgens

Gustaf Gründgens (December 22, 1899 – October 7, 1963), born Gustav Heinrich Arnold Gründgens, was one of Germany's most famous and influential actors of the 20th century, intendant and artistic director of theatres in Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Hamburg. His career continued undisturbed through the years of the Nazi regime; the extent to which this can be considered as deliberate collaboration with the Nazis was hotly disputed (see below). His single most famous role was that of Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust in 1956/57, which is still considered by many to have been the best interpretation of the role ever given. Contents [show] [edit]Biography

Born in Düsseldorf, Gründgens after World War I attended the drama school of the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and started his career at smaller theaters in Halberstadt, Kiel, Berlin. In 1923 he went to the Kammerspiele in Hamburg, where he also appeared as a director for the first time, co-working with the author Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann, and his sister Erika. Gründgens, who meanwhile had changed his first name to "Gustaf", married Erika in 1926. However, they divorced three years later. In 1928 he moved back to Berlin to join the renown ensemble of the Deutsches Theater under director Max Reinhardt. Apart from straight theatre, Gründgens also worked with Otto Klemperer at the Kroll Opera, as a kabarett artist and also as a movie actor, most notably in Fritz Lang's 1931 film M, which decisively added to his popularity. From 1932 he was a member of the Prussian State Theatre ensemble, first scintillating as Mephistopheles. Gründgens' career proceeded after the Nazi Machtergreifung: in 1934 he became intendant of the Prussian State Theatre; though constant attacks on his sexual orientation made him ask the Prussian Minister President Hermann Göring for his discharge after the Night of the Long Knives. Göring rejected the request and instead appointed him a member of the Prussian state council to ensure his immunity. Gründgens remained his protégé against the ambitions of Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels to gain control over the whole scope of cultural work in Germany. In 1941 Gründgens starred in the propaganda film Ohm Krüger and also in Friedemann Bach, a film he also produced. After Goebbels's total war speech on 18 February 1943, Gründgens volunteered for the Wehrmacht but was again recalled by Göring, who had his name added to the Gottbegnadeten list. From 1936 till 1946, Gründgens was married to the famous German actress Marianne Hoppe. The wedlock was widely seen as a lavender marriage. Imprisoned by the Soviet NKVD in 1945, Gründgens was released thanks to the intercession by the Communist actor Ernst Bush, whom Gründgens himself had saved from execution by the Nazis in 1943. During the denazification process his statements helped to exonerate acting colleagues like Göring's widow Emmy or the director Veit Harlan (Jud Süß). Gründgens turned back to the Deutsches theater, later became intendant of the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and from 1955 directed the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. He again performed as Mephistopheles, the 1960 film Faust by Peter Gorski was shot with the Deutsches Schauspielhaus ensemble. On October 7, 1963, Gründgens died on a journey in Manila of an internal hemorrhage, though it has been claimed that he in fact committed suicide by an overdose of sleeping pills. He is buried at the Hamburg Ohlsdorf Cemetery. [edit]Mephisto judgement

Posthumously, Gründgens was involved in one of the most famous literary cases in 20th century Germany, as the subject of a novel entitled Mephisto by his former brother-in-law Klaus Mann, who had died in 1949. The novel, a thinly veiled account of Gründgens's life, portrayed its main character ("Hendrik Höfgen") as having shady connections with the Nazi regime. Gründgens's adopted son and heir Peter Gorski, who had directed Faust, in 1966 successfully sued the publisher on his late father's behalf, confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice in 1968. In the long-time lawsuit the controversy about libel and the freedom of fiction from censorship was finally decided by the Federal Constitutional Court in 1971. It ruled, that Gründgens's post-mortem personality rights prevailed and the prohibition imposed on the publishing house is valid. However, the novel was again published in 1981 by Rowohlt, which met with no further protests. In 1981 the novel was made into the film Mephisto, Directed by István Szabó, Klaus Maria Brandauer played the role of Hendrik Höfgen. The film was a huge commercial and critical success winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1981. [edit]Filmography

[edit]Director Eine Stadt steht Kopf (also actor, 1932) Die Finanzen des Großherzogs (1933) Kapriolen (also actor, 1937) Der Schritt vom Wege (1938) Zwei Welten (1939) Friedemann Bach (also actor, 1940) Faust (also actor) [edit]Actor Ich glaub' nie mehr an eine Frau (1929) Va Banque (1930) Hokuspokus (1930) Danton (1930) Brand in der Oper (1930) Yorck (1931) M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (1931) Luise, Königin von Preußen (1931) Die Gräfin von Monte Christo (1931) Der Raub der Mona Lisa (1931) Teilnehmer antwortet nicht (1932) Liebelei (1932) Der Tunnel (1933) Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez (1933) So endete eine Liebe (1934) Schwarzer Jäger Johanna (1934) Das Erbe in Pretoria (1934) Pygmalion (1935) Das Mädchen Johanna (1935) Eine Frau ohne Bedeutung (1936) Tanz auf dem Vulkan (1938) Ohm Krüger (1941) Faust (1955/1957) Faust (1960) Das Glas Wasser (1960) [edit]

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Gustaf Gründgens's Timeline

December 22, 1899
Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
October 7, 1963
Age 63
Manila, Philippines
Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, Hamburg, Germany