Dieter Thomas Heck

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Dieter Thomas Heck
Dieter Thomas Heck by Stuart Mentiply.jpg
Born (1937-12-29) 29 December 1937 (age 80)
Flensburg, Germany
Occupation Television presenter, singer and actor

Dieter Thomas Heck (born Carl-Dieter Heckscher, 29 December 1937) is a German television presenter, singer and actor. He is known as the presenter of the TV program ZDF-Hitparade, featuring German Schlager music, in the 1970s and 1980s. As an actor, he starred in the TV play Das Millionenspiel in 1970.

Early life[edit]

Heck was born in Flensburg, Germany and grew up in Hamburg. In April 1943, when he was five years old, he developed a stutter after being trapped under a staircase after a nighttime British bombing raid during World War II.[1][2][3][4] The stutter went away after he received training in classical singing at age 16.[5][6][7] After completing "Mittelschule" and a technical "Oberschule" he was trained as a "Technischer Kaufmann" by Borgward in Hamburg and worked afterwards as a salesman. He left the company before it went bankrupt in 1961.[8]

Radio and TV career[edit]

In 1959, Heck appeared on Peter Frankenfelds talent show toi, toi, toi, singing Hippe-di-hipp, mein Mädchen.[6] In 1961, he participated in the preliminary round of the Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson (now Eurovision Song Contest). After employment as a car salesman, Heck worked for a record company. He visited the radio station Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden on 23 November 1963 and was asked to be interviewed because a scheduled guest did not show up. The moderator asked clumsy questions so Heck took over conducting the interview himself. As a result, Herbert Falk offered him the job of hosting a 90-minute "Sendung" broadcast every Saturday.[6] Heck then worked for Radio Luxemburg from 1965 to September 1966. It was customary there to use only a first name, and as "Dieter" was already taken, Heck asked readers of the youth magazine Bravo for an alternative name. The readers chose "Thomas", and he has used it since.[5] He collaborated with Frank Elstner and they became friends.[1]

He then worked for SR 1 Europawelle of the Saarländischer Rundfunk. He concentrated on German Schlager music, a topic not favored by other moderators.[2] His series Die Deutsche Schlagerparade was so successful that it was partly recorded. In 1967, he was a co-founder of the award Goldene Europa for German singers, which was first awarded in 1968.[1]

Heck's breakthrough came with ZDF-Hitparade, a TV series for the ZDF in Mainz, based on the model of the Schlagerparade and staged by Truck Branss.[2][5][9] It was considered an influential music feature of the 1970s and 1980s.[1] He presented it 183 times between 1969 and 1984.[10] Heck initiated the award Goldene Stimmgabel. From 1982 to 1989, he was also moderator for the Südwestfunk (SWF) in the series Gute Laune aus Südwest and Vom Telefon zum Mikrofon. For the ZDF, he moderated 4 gegen 4 (1973), Die Pyramide (1978), Schwarz auf Weiß, Ihr Einsatz bitte – Made in Germany, Das ist ihr Leben (1994), Das große Los, Showpalast, Das Sommer-Hitfestival, Das Silvester-Hitfestival and finally Melodien für Millionen (Melodies for Millions), a gala for the benefit of the German Cancer Aid.[5] He retired from the ZDF in 2007.[1] Heck published his biography in 2011.[2]

As an actor, in 1970 he starred in the role of the showmaster in the TV play Das Millionenspiel.[11] He played supporting roles in TV crime series, such as Tatort in 1981, Rosenheim-Cops, Praxis Bülowbogen, and SOKO Stuttgart in 2009.

Personal life[edit]

Dieter Thomas Heck talking to Marie Sagenschneider, 2011

Heck married in 1962 and again in 1976. He has two sons and one daughter.[3]


  • 1961: Schlagerparade 1961, film
  • 1970: Das Millionenspiel
  • 1971: Glückspilze
  • 1971: Hurra bei uns geht´s rund
  • 1972: Sternschnuppe
  • 1973: Klimbim, TV series
  • 1978: Café Wernicke, TV series
  • 1981: Tatort – Beweisaufnahme
  • 1983: Pankow '95
  • 1987: Praxis Bülowbogen, TV series
  • 1987: Manta, film
  • 1992: Tatort – Stoevers Fall
  • 1993: Salto Postale, sitcom
  • 1994: Heimatgeschichten TV series
  • 1998: In aller Freundschaft TV series
  • 1998: Und vor mir die Sterne
  • 2008: Die Rosenheim-Cops
  • 2009: SOKO Stuttgart
  • 2010: C.I.S. – Chaoten im Sondereinsatz

Television shows[edit]

  • 1966: Die deutsche Schlagerparade
  • 1969–1984: ZDF-Hitparade
  • 1978–1994: Die Pyramide
  • 1981–1989: Der Tag des deutschen Schlagers
  • 1981–2007: Goldene Stimmgabel
  • 1988–2000: Deutsche Schlagerparade (production)
  • 1985–2007: Melodien für Millionen
  • 1987–1990: Ihr Einsatz bitte
  • 1987–1988: Schwarz auf weiß
  • 1992–1994: Das ist Ihr Leben
  • 1991–1998: Musik liegt in der Luft
  • 1996–2000: Das große Los
  • 1994, 1997–1999: Die deutschen Schlagerfestspiele
  • 1998-2001: Welt Hunger Hilfe Telethon



  1. ^ a b c d e "Dieter Thomas Heck". Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Preißner, Katja. "Dieter Thomas Heck – Die Biografie" (in German). Saarländischer Rundfunk Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Zylka, Jenni. "Dieter Thomas Heck "Zigarette und Bierglas, zack. Das war schon heavy"" (in German). Spiegel Online. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Scheuring, Christoph (1995). "Der Parade-Deutsche". Der Spiegel (in German). 8: 78. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Vom Stotterer zum Schnellsprecher" (in German). Nord Bayern. 27 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Hildebrandt, Antje (21 June 2007). "Ötzi konnte schlecht singen" (in German). Welt Online. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Holprige Anfänge des Star-Moderators Dieter Thomas Heck" (in German). The Epoch Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Man müßte nochmal 20 sein" (in German). SWR. Retrieved 11 March 2012. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Juliane Werding – Wenn Du denkst Du denkst, dann denkst Du nur Du denkst". Half Heart Dude. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Isert, Jörg (28 December 2007). "Der Dieter, der Thomas, der Heck" (in German). Der Stern. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Das Millionenspiel (1970)" (in German). Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "'Lebenswerk National": Dieter Thomas Heck". Goldene Kamera (in German). Retrieved 4 March 2017. 


External links[edit]