Vicco von Bülow

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Vicco von Bülow
Loriot
Loriot 1971 (1).jpg
Vicco von Bülow, 1971
Born Bernhard-Victor Christoph-Carl von Bülow
(1923-11-12)12 November 1923
Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany
Died 22 August 2011(2011-08-22) (aged 87)
Ammerland at Lake Starnberg, Germany
Nationality German
Known for Ödipussi, Pappa Ante Portas
Signature Wohlfahrtsmarke Loriot HerrenimBad cropped.png
Loriot 2010

Bernhard-Victor Christoph-Carl von Bülow, short: Vicco von Bülow (from Bernhard-Victor Christoph-Carl), alias Loriot (12 November 1923, Brandenburg an der Havel – 22 August 2011, Ammerland at Lake Starnberg),[1] was a German comedian, humorist, cartoonist, film director, actor and writer.

He is best known for his cartoons, the sketches from his 1976 television series Loriot, alongside Evelyn Hamann, and his two movies, Ödipussi (1988) and Pappa Ante Portas (1991).

On the television series Unsere Besten (Our Best), Loriot was ranked the 54th best German ever. In a special comedy episode of Unsere Besten, he was ranked as the most famous German comedian ever.

Biography[edit]

Coat of arms of the von Bülow family

Vicco von Bülow was born in Brandenburg an der Havel in Prussia, today Brandenburg, in modern North-Eastern Germany. His family von Bülow belonged to German aristocracy. His parents separated soon after he was born, his mother died when he was six. Von Bülow and his brother grew up in Berlin with their grandmother.[2]

Von Bülow was still in school when World War II started. After graduating early from secondary school, he followed the family's tradition and became a military officer. He was deployed to the Eastern Front for three years, serving as First Lieutenant of Panzergrenadierregiment 3[2] in the 3rd Panzer Division. Asked during an interview later in his life if he had been a good lieutenant he answered: "Not good enough, otherwise I would have been part of the resistance on July 20th, 1944. But for this dreadful German contribution to world history, I will be ashamed for the rest of my life."[note 1][3] He completed his Abitur in 1946.

Artistic career[edit]

Von Bülow's talent for drawing was eminent already during his school years. After the war he studied graphic design and painting at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg. From 1950 onwards he published cartoons under the pseudonym "Loriot", derived from the French word for Oriole, his family's heraldic animal.[2]

Loriot during an autographing session in 1971

In 1971 von Bülow created a cartoon dog named Wum, which he voice acted himself. Wum became the mascot of "Aktion Sorgenkind", a German humanitarian organization. During the Christmas season of 1972 Wum's song "Ich wünsch' mir 'ne kleine Miezekatze" ("I wish I had a little kittycat"), sung in sprechgesang style, became popular enough to remain in the top position of the German pop charts for nine weeks.[2] Wum also appeared in the German show Der große Preis (The Big Prize), where he appeared during breaks until the 1990s. Before long, Wum was accompanied by the elephant Wendelin, and later by Blauer Klaus (Blue Klaus), an alien hovering in with his flying saucer. Loriot wrote, drew and dubbed all of these skits by himself. Each cartoon ended with Loriot asking the viewers to take part in the TV-lottery, which supported the "Aktion Sorgenkind". When the show was dropped, the adventures of Wum and Wendelin ended as well. Today, Wum and Wendelin appear on the final page of the TV magazine Gong.

The first episode of the German television comedy series Loriot was produced in 1976. In six episodes, Loriot presented sketches, usually being the protagonist himself, and short cartoons, drawn by himself.

Loriot had a love of classical music and opera. In 1982 he conducted the humorous gala concert for the 100th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also related to the orchestra's history by kinship (Hans von Bülow, the first chief conductor of the orchestra, was distantly related to Loriot). His narrative version of Camille Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals was repeatedly performed by Loriot with the Scharoun Ensemble, a chamber music ensemble consisting of musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

As a director, Loriot staged the operas Martha (Staatsoper Stuttgart, 1986) and Der Freischütz (Ludwigsburg, 1988). In 1983 Radio Bremen produced the broadcast "Loriot's 60th birthday" for the broadcast station ARD on the occasion of Loriot's 60th birthday. In 1988 he received the Bavarian Film Award, Special Prize, and in 1993 the Bavarian Film Award, Honorary Award.[4]

Loriot was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Wuppertal in 2001. He is honorary citizen of his hometown Brandenburg an der Havel and his chosen home Münsing since 1993. Furthermore, Loriot was a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste since that same year and of the Berlin Academy of Arts since 1997. He became honorary professor of theatrical arts at the Berlin University of the Arts in June 2003. He received numerous awards for his performance in TV, movies and other disciplines. He died in Ammerland at Lake Starnberg of old age.

Characteristics of his work[edit]

Vicco von Bülow, 2005

For the most part, his work dealt with problems of communication between individuals. (Loriot: "What I am interested in most of all are people whose communication fails. All that I consider comical results from crumbled communication, from talk at cross purposes.") His cartoons hinged on the contrast between the presented situation, the dignity displayed by his typically big nosed characters and the picture's caption. Inevitably one of these elements gets out of line, for example, when he combines the caption "We demand equal treatment of men and women, even if the suckling baby might temporarily lose weight." with the picture of a bulbous-nosed man breast-feeding a baby in a distinguished manner. The topics of his cartoons were mainly drawn from everyday life, scenes of the family and middle-class society.

The same contrast between absurd situation and dignified behaviour of his characters could be seen in his various sketches and films.

Loriot's enormous popularity, his accurate language, and high-brow sense of comedy led to the adoption of a large number of phrases and inventions from the series’s sketches into German common knowledge and everyday speech. Among these are certainly the "yodel diploma", the "stone louse", but also sentences like "With that, you have something of your own!", "Please, don't talk right now...", "There used to be more tinsel", "Look, a piano! A piano, a piano!" or the laconic, hardly translatable "Ach!?" ("Oh, is it?").

Lawsuit against Wikimedia Foundation for alleged copyright violation[edit]

External images
The stamps in question

Pictures showing Loriot's signature and German semi-postal stamps with topics of Loriot's work that illustrated Loriot's entry in the German-language Wikipedia were removed by the Wikimedia Foundation on 8 November 2011.[5] This action was prompted by an interim order forbidding Wikimedia to use these images that had been initiated by an heiress at the Landgericht Berlin on 6 October 2011 after an email of the heiress requesting their removal had not been answered.[6] Wikimedia had to pay the cost of the legal proceedings.[5] The final court decision was announced on 27 March 2012; it upheld the interim order regarding the stamps, but overturned it for the signature. Wikimedia was ordered to pay  45 of the costs.[7]

Accolades and awards (selection)[edit]

Star for Loriot on the Boulevard der Stars in Berlin, Potsdamer Platz
Street sign of the Loriotplatz in Bremen

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Nicht gut genug, sonst hätte ich am 20. Juli 1944 zum Widerstand gehört. Aber für den schauerlichen deutschen Beitrag zur Weltgeschichte werde ich mich schämen bis an mein Lebensende."

References[edit]

External links[edit]