Daniel Hoevels

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Daniel Hoevels (born 10 March 1978) is a Swedish-born German theater actor. Hamburger Abendblatt has described his work as helping critics rediscover Hamburg's theater. On 6 December 2008, Hoevels accidentally slit his neck while playing "Mortimer" in Mary Stuart, written by Friedrich Schiller, which led to near fatal injury.

Early life and acting career[edit]

Hoevels was born in Sweden.[1] After three years studying politics in Berlin at the Free University,[2] he found that he was born to work on stage.[3]

He trained as an actor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (music and theater academy) in Hamburg between 2001 and 2004, and acted in some films and theater productions in Hamburg and Weimar during that time. His role at the Nationaltheater Weimar in 2004 was the first of several Shakespeare parts: he played Malvolio in a performance of Twelfth Night.[4] He joined the Thalia Theater (Hamburg) in 2004,[4] where his first roles were Huck in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,[3] Haimon in Christine Eders's Antigone, and King Lear in Andreas Kriegenburg's production of the eponymous Shakespeare play. His subsequent Shakespearean roles have been Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo Montague in Romeo and Juliet.[4] He is noted for bringing a touch of comedy to rather serious roles, such as in King Lear and Mein Kampf. The Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper has described Hoevels's work as helping critics rediscover Hamburg's theater.[3]

Accidental stabbing[edit]

On 6 December 2008, Hoevels slit his neck while playing "Mortimer" in Mary Stuart, written by Friedrich Schiller.[5] His character's suicide scene was to feature a dull knife, though it was damaged and was replaced by a sharp one. Thalia - the theatre company - requested that the sharp one be dulled too, though this was "carelessly" disregarded.[6] The near-fatal knife was bought at a local store and reportedly still contained a price tag.[5]

Austrian police forces are currently investigating who failed to blunt the knife.[needs update] They have not ruled out the possibility of a conspiracy,[7] and some rumors claim that the knife was replaced by a rival of Hoevels. They reportedly questioned the cast and crew and performed DNA tests.[5]

When Hoevels collapsed on the Burgtheater's stage, the audience reportedly began to clap. They thought that the blood spilling from Hoevels's neck was some sort of special effect. No one realised he was injured until he did not take a bow after the show.[5]

The actor was taken to a hospital, where he was given stitches. He survived the incident because the blade barely missed his carotid artery. Hoevels returned to acting at the Burgtheater the next day.[5]

A spokeswoman for the Burgtheater later said that reports were exaggerated, and that the audience did not applaud. Police denied that an investigation had been launched or that DNA tests of cast and crew were done.[8]

Later performance[edit]

Hoevels returned to Hamburg on 8 December. He was to play the title character in The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Coincidentally, Werther was also to commit suicide in the play, albeit by a gun.[9]


  1. ^ Wheeler, Virginia (12 December 2008). "Guard on slit throat actor". The Sun. London: News International. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  2. ^ "Deutsches Theater Berlin - Daniel Hoevels". Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  3. ^ a b c "Deutsches Theater Berlin - Daniel Hoevels". Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b c "Daniel Hoevels – Gottschalk & Behrens – Agentur für Schauspieler und Schauspielerinnen". Agentur Gottschalk & Behrens website (in German). Gottschalk & Behrens. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Pearse, Damien (11 December 2008). "Actor slits his own throat as knife switch turns fiction into reality". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  6. ^ "Suicide scene a bit too real for Austrian actor". Associated Press. The Houston Chronicle. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  7. ^ "Austrian actor's neck slashed after prop mix-up". Australian Associated Press. The New Zealand Herald. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  8. ^ Connolly, Kate (15 December 2008). "Actor cutting neck was stage accident, Hamburg theatre says". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  9. ^ Smith, Adam (11 December 2008). "Actor Cuts Throat on Stage in Knife Mix-Up". Time. Time, Inc. Retrieved 2008-12-12.