Portrait by Günter Rittner, 1980
|Born||Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens
13 December 1915
Solln, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
|Died||18 June 1982
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Spouse(s)||Lulu Basler (1938–1947)
Judith Holzmeister (1947–1955)
Eva Bartok (1955–1956)
Simone Bicheron (1958–1977)
Margie Schmitz (1978–1982)
|Awards||Volpi Cup for Best Actor
1955 Les héros sont fatigués
Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens (13 December 1915 – 18 June 1982) was a German-Austrian stage and film actor. He was usually billed in English-speaking films as Curt Jurgens.
Jürgens was born on 13 December 1915 in the Munich borough of Solln, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire. His father, Kurt, was a trader from Hamburg, and his mother, Marie-Albertine, was a French teacher. He began his working career as a journalist before becoming an actor at the urging of his actress wife, Louise Basler. He spent much of his early acting career on the stage in Vienna.
Jürgens became an Austrian citizen after the war.
Like many multilingual German-speaking actors, Jürgens went on to play soldiers in innumerable war films. Notable performances in this vein include a meditative officer in the epic The Longest Day. His breakthrough screen role came in Des Teufels General (1955, The Devil's General) and he came to Hollywood following his appearance in the sensational 1956 Roger Vadim directed French film Et Dieu... créa la femme (And God Created Woman) starring Brigitte Bardot.
Jürgens first Hollywood film was The Enemy Below (1957), in which he portrayed a German U-boat commander. Jürgens became an international film star. He eventually gained the role of the villain in Roger Moore's favourite James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), as Karl Stromberg, a sociopathic industrialist seeking to transform the world into an ocean paradise. His last film appearance was as Maître Legraine, beside Alain Delon and Claude Jade in the spy-thriller Teheran 43 (1981). He played Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in several episodes of the BBC TV series Fall of Eagles (1974) and appeared as General Vladimir in the BBC's Smiley's People (1982).
Although he appeared in over 100 films, Jürgens considered himself primarily a stage actor. His last stage appearance was with the Vienna State Opera on 9 March 1981 as Bassa Selim in Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He also directed a few films with limited success, and wrote screenplays.
Jürgens maintained a home in France, but frequently returned to Vienna to perform on stage and he died there from a heart attack on 18 June 1982. He was interred in the city's Zentralfriedhof. Jürgens had suffered a heart attack several years before. During this he had a near-death experience where he claimed he died and went to Hell.
Jürgens was married to:
- Lulu Basler, actress (15 June 1937 – 8 October 1947) (divorced)
- Judith Holzmeister (16 October 1947 – 1955) (divorced)
- Eva Bartok (13 August 1955 – 1957) (divorced)
- Simone Bicheron (14 September 1958 – 1977) (divorced)
- Margie Schmitz (21 March 1978 – 18 June 1982) (till his death)
- "Curt Jurgens, War Films' Star" (Free Preview) The New York Times (subscription required)
- "The Man You'll Love to Hate" (Free Preview) The New York Times (subscription required)
- Karney, Robyn (1984). The Movie Stars Story. Outlet.
- Die Entführung aus dem Serail, 9 March 1981, Vienna State Opera
- Jürgens, Curd. … und kein bißchem weise, Munich, Droemer Knaur (1976). ISBN 3-85886-054-9.
- Sill, Oliver (1991). Zerbrochene Spiegel (in German). Walter de Gruyter. p. 227. ISBN 978-3-11-012697-6. Retrieved 8 May 2009. quoting Holba et al. Reclams deutsches Filmlexikon, Stuttgart 1984, p. 181, ISBN 978-3-15-010329-6
- "Curd Jürgens im Porträt" (in German). Hubert Burda. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
Media related to Curd Jürgens at Wikimedia Commons
- Curd Jürgens at the Internet Movie Database
- Curd Jürgens at Find a Grave
- Curd Jürgens Estate at Deutsches Filminstitut, Frankfurt am Main