Curt Bois

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Curt Bois
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-P047613, Curt Bois und Fritz Kortner im Schiller-Theater.jpg
Curt Bois (left) with Fritz Kortner in the Berlin Schillertheater (1959)
Kurt Boas

(1901-04-05)April 5, 1901
DiedDecember 25, 1991(1991-12-25) (aged 90)
Berlin, Germany
Years active1907–1989
Spouse(s)Hedwig Ury (1931–1962) (her death)
Dagmar Bois (?–1991) (his death)

Curt Bois (April 5, 1901 – December 25, 1991) was a German actor with a career spanning over 80 years. He is best remembered for his performances as the pickpocket in Casablanca (1942) and the poet Homer in Wings of Desire (1987).

Life and career[edit]

Bois was born to a Jewish family[1] in Berlin and began acting in 1907, becoming one of the film world's first child actors, with a role in the silent movie Bauernhaus und Grafenschloß. In 1909, he played the title role in Der Kleine Detektiv ('The Little Detective'). Bois performed in theatre, cabaret, musicals, silent films, and "talkies" over his long acting career. He performed under Max Reinhardt[2] and found success in 1928 in a Viennese stage production of "Charley's Aunt" at the Josefstad Theater.[3] He was a successful character comic, and for some times film studios tried to make him into a "German Harold Lloyd".[4]

In 1934, the Jewish Bois was forced to leave his home in Nazi Germany for the United States, where he found work on stage on Broadway. By 1937, he had found his way to Hollywood and began acting in films, the best-known being Casablanca (1942), in which he warns a befuddled English gentleman to be on guard against pickpockets ("vultures everywhere") while stealing the man's wallet. Most of his Hollywood roles were small, but nevertheless Bois was in demand. After World War II, Bois decided it was safe to return to Germany, which he did in 1950.

Bois finished his life and career in Germany, first in the East, and then in the West. He appeared at the Schiller Theater and the Theater des Westens for many years. One of his final performances was in Wim Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire) in 1987, portraying the aged poet Homer "who endlessly wanders Berlin in hopes of properly capturing the city on paper".[5] He won the European Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role. He played his last role in the 1989 short film Das letzte Band, ending a film career of 82 years. Bois died in Berlin, the city of his birth, at the age of ninety.

Complete filmography[edit]



  • John Holmstrom, The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 18–19.

External links[edit]