Karl Friedrich May

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Karl Friedrich May

Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: Ernstthal am Rennsteig, Lauscha, Thuringia, Germany
Death: March 30, 1912 (70)
Radebeul, Dresden, Saxony, Germany (cardiac arrest, acute bronchitis, asthma)
Place of Burial: Radebeul, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Heinrich August May and Wilhelmine Christiane May
Husband of Klara Auguste Plöhn, verw. Plöhn
Ex-husband of Emma Lina Pollmer
Brother of Augustine Wilhelmine Hoppe; Christiane Wilhelmine Christiane May; Ernestine Pauline Pauline May; Karoline Wilhelmine May; Friedrich Wilhelm May and 2 others

Occupation: German novelist, Lehrer, später Schriftsteller
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Karl Friedrich May

Karl Friedrich May (25 February 1842 – 30 March 1912) was a popular German writer, noted mainly for adventure novels set in the American Old West, (best known for the characters of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand) and similar books set in the Orient and Middle East (with Kara Ben Nemsi and Hadschi Halef Omar). In addition, he wrote stories set in his native Germany, in China and in South America. May also has written poetry and a play, and composed music; he also was proficient player of several musical instruments. Many of his works were filmed, adapted for the stage, turned into audio dramas or into comics. A highly imaginative and fanciful writer, May never visited the exotic places featured in his stories until late in life, at which point the clash between his fiction and reality led to a complete change in his work.

Asteroid 348 May is named in his honor.

Movies based on his stories:

  • Winnetou - The Treasure of Silver Lake (in English) 1962 Made in 1962, in a pre-Leone Europe, this was the first adaptation of a Karl May novel set in the West, featuring Old Shatterhand, the famous frontiersman, and his friend Winnetou, chief of the Apaches. The movie was a phenomenal success and helped to create a cultural and financial context for the spaghetti westerns.
  • Winnetou 1 - Winnetou the Warrior (in English) - 1963 The construction of the Great Western Railroad creates heavy conflict between the railway company and neighboring Indian tribes. Worse, criminal gang leader Santer sets his eyes on a gold mine located on holy Indian land and influences the construction supervisor to re-rout the planned railroad straight through Apache land. Old Shatterhand, who works as a measurement technician, discovers the evil plan and searches contact with the Apaches in an effort to avert war.
  • Winnetou 2 - Last of the Renegades (in English) - 1964. In this western, an entry in the "Winnetou" series based on Germany's Karl May's novels, follows the attempts of two con men to cheat the Apaches out of their oil rights. They are foiled by Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, his Apache partner.
  • Winnetou - Among Vultures (in English) - 1964 Among Vultures (German: Unter Geiern) is a 1964 Western film directed by Alfred Vohrer and starring Stewart Granger, Pierre Brice, Elke Sommer and Götz George. An American frontiersman Old Surehand and his Apache companion Winnetou expose a criminal gang who are murdering settlers and laying the blame on the local Native American tribe.It was also released as Frontier Hellcat.
  • Old Shutterhand, 1965
  • Winnetou and Apanatschi (Half-Breed - in English) 1966

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Karl Friedrich May's Timeline

February 25, 1842
Lauscha, Thuringia, Germany
March 30, 1912
Age 70
Radebeul, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Age 69
Radebeul, Germany