Eric Pohlmann

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Eric Pohlmann
EricPohlmann.jpg
Born Erich Pollak
(1913-07-18)18 July 1913
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 25 July 1979(1979-07-25) (aged 66)
Bad Reichenhall, Upper Bavaria, Germany
Cause of death Heart attack
Years active 1948–79
Spouse(s) Liselotte Goettinger (1939–1968; her death; 2 children)

Eric Pohlmann (German: Erich Pohlmann; 18 July 1913 – 25 July 1979) was an Austrian theatre, film and television character actor who worked mostly in Britain.

Early life[edit]

Born Erich Pollak in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, he was a classically trained actor who studied under the renowned director Max Reinhardt. He appeared at the Raimund Theater, and supplemented his income by working as an entertainer in a bar.

In 1939, he followed his fiancée and later wife, Jewish actress Lieselotte Goettinger (best known in the UK for playing the concentration camp guard in the war films, Odette and Carve Her Name With Pride), into exile in London. There he took part in propaganda broadcasts against the Nazis on the BBC. In order to earn a living, the Pohlmanns temporarily took positions in the household of the Duke of Bedford, Lieselotte as a cook and Eric, as he was now known, as butler.

Career[edit]

After the war, he began a career on the London stage. Among other roles he played "Peachum" in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera. From the end of the 1940s, Pohlmann was often present in film and television productions, taking supporting roles in various adventure and crime films, and appearing occasionally in comedies. His large frame and massive features typecast him in roles as master criminals and spies, or conversely as police officers or detectives, as well as other authority figures. He was frequently cast in "foreign" roles, portraying Turks, Italians, Arabs, Greeks or Orientals; he also played King George I, King George II in Disney's Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue and King George III twice.

One of his earliest film appearances was in Carol Reed's classic The Third Man (1949). He also played supporting roles in such British films as They Who Dare (1954), Chance of a Lifetime (1950), Reach for the Sky (1956), and Expresso Bongo (1960). He also appeared in US productions, notably Moulin Rouge (1952), Mogambo (1953), Lust For Life (1956) and 55 Days at Peking (1963). Twice he appeared in films directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor - The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955) and The House of the Seven Hawks (1959).

He displayed his comedic talents in films like Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) with Jane Russell, as a lecherous Arab sheikh in The Belles of St Trinian's (1954), as "The Fat Man" in Carry On Spying (1964) and in The Return of the Pink Panther (1975).

Pohlmann (uncredited) also provided the voice of the unseen head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in the James Bond films From Russia with Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965).

In the 1960s and 1970s, Pohlmann regularly returned to his homeland to play numerous character roles in German and Austrian film and television productions. He had guest roles in the popular crime series Der Kommissar and Derrick, and also appeared in television plays for ORF and Bayerischer Rundfunk, often under the direction of Franz Josef Wild. In addition to The Defence Counsel (1961) with Barbara Rütting and Carl Heinz Schroth, he appeared in Der Kleine Lord (1962) with Albrecht Schoenhals and Michael Ande, as well as The Dreyfus Affair (1968) with Karl Michael Vogler and Bernhard Wicki. In 1962, Pohlmann also appeared in The Puzzle of the Red Orchid starring Marisa Mell, Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski, a German film adaptation of an Edgar Wallace novel.

Pohlmann's greatest success in German TV drama came in 1970 with an adaptation of Wilkie Collins' novel The Woman In White, one of the most successful television productions of the year which gained over 9 million viewers. Under the direction of William Semmelroth, Pohlmann appeared in the role of the villainous Count Fosco, alongside Heidelinde Weis, Christoph Bantzer, Pinkas Braun and Helmut Käutner. The mini-series has a cult following to this day.

Pohlmann was a regular on British television, taking the role of "Inspector Goron" in the 1952-1954 TV series Colonel March of Scotland Yard with Boris Karloff, and appearing as a guest star in such series as The Saint, The Champions, The Avengers, Danger Man, Department S, Jason King and Paul Temple.

In 1978, he worked with the actor-director Maximilian Schell in an Austro/German film production of Ödön von Horváth's play Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald (Tales from the Vienna Woods). The film was shown at the 1979 London Film Festival. In that year, during final rehearsals for his second appearance at the Salzburg Festival, Pohlmann suffered a heart attack, and died the same day in a hotel in Bad Reichenhall. He was 66.

In 2006, the Turner Classic Movies "31 Days of Oscar" festival was based on the theme of "360 Degrees of Oscar" (based on the game of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon") in which TCM chooses an actor who has played a significant role in Oscar history, and builds its entire schedule around him. They chose Eric Pohlmann.

He also appeared on stage (Henry Cecil's Settled Out Of Court is a production this editor remembers seeing him in).

Filmography[edit]

List of acting performances in film, theatre, and television
Year Title Role Notes
1949 Portrait from Life Search group leader
1949 Marry Me! Mr. Cinelli Uncredited
1949 The Third Man Waiter at Smolka's Uncredited
1949 Children of Chance Sergeant
1950 Chance of a Lifetime Xenobian
1950 Cairo Road Ship's Captain
1950 State Secret Cable Car conductor
1950 Blackout Otto Ford
1950 The Clouded Yellow Greek taxidermist
1950 Highly Dangerous Joe - the bartender
1950 Traveller's Joy Gustafsen
1951 The Long Dark Hall Mr. Polaris (the mystery witness)
1951 Hell Is Sold Out Louis, the proprietor
1951 There Is Another Sun Markie
1952 His Excellency Dobrieda
1952 The Woman's Angle Steffano
1952 Emergency Call Flash Harry
1952 Penny Princess Monsieur Paul Uncredited
1952 Venetian Bird Gostini
1952 Monsoon Molac
1952 The Man Who Watched Trains Go By Goin
1952 Moulin Rouge Picard Uncredited
1952 The Gambler and the Lady Arturo Colonna
1953 The Beggar's Opera Inn Keeper
1953 Mogambo Leon Boltchak
1953 Blood Orange Mr. Mercedes
1953 Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue King George I
1953 36 Hours Slossen, the smuggler
1954 They Who Dare Captain Papadapoulos
1954 Knave of Hearts Boarding House Proprietor Uncredited
1954 Flame and the Flesh Marina Proprietor
1954 Forbidden Cargo Steven Lasovich
1954 The Belles of St Trinian's The Sultan of Makyad
1955 The Glass Cage Henri Sapolio
1955 A Prize of Gold Fischer
1955 Break in the Circle Emile
1955 The Constant Husband Papa Sopranelli
1955 Gentlemen Marry Brunettes M. Ballard
1955 The Adventures of Quentin Durward Gluckmeister
1956 The Gelignite Gang Mr. Popoulos ("Populace")
1956 Reach for the Sky Adjutant of Prison Camp
1956 Lust for Life Colbert
1956 High Terrace Otto Kellner
1956 House of Secrets Gratz
1956 Zarak Tobacco seller Uncredited
1956 Anastasia Von Drivnitz Uncredited
1957 The Counterfeit Plan Frank Wandelman
1957 Interpol Etienne Fayala
1957 Let's Be Happy Customs Official
1957 Fire Down Below Hotel Owner
1957 Across the Bridge Police Sergeant
1957 Not Wanted on Voyage Pedro
1957 Barnacle Bill Liberamanian Consul
1958 A Tale of Two Cities Sawyer
1958 I Accuse! Bertillon
1958 The Duke Wore Jeans Bastini - Prime Minister
1958 Nor the Moon by Night Anton Boryslawski
1958 The Man Inside Tristao
1958 Further Up the Creek President
1958 Mark of the Phoenix Duser
1959 Three Crooked Men Masters
1959 John Paul Jones King George III
1959 Alive and Kicking Captain
1959 The House of the Seven Hawks Captain Rohner
1959 Upstairs and Downstairs Mario
1959 Expresso Bongo Leon
1960 Life Is a Circus Rickenbeck
1960 Sands of the Desert Scrobin
1960 Surprise Package Chief of Police Stefan Miralis
1960 Man Who Couldn't Walk The Consul General
1960 No Kidding King
1960 Passport to China Ivono Kong
1960 Snowball Editor
1961 The Singer Not the Song Presidente
1961 Carry On Regardless Sinister Man
1961 The Kitchen Mr. Marango
1962 The Puzzle of the Red Orchid Kerkie Minelli
1962 Village of Daughters Marcio (A Father)
1962 Mrs. Gibbons' Boys Morelli
1962 The Devil's Agent Bloch
1963 Cairo Nicodemos
1963 Follow the Boys Italian Farmer
1963 55 Days at Peking Baron von Meck
1963 Shadow of Fear Henry Spiroulos
1963 From Russia with Love Ernst Stavro Blofeld Voice, Uncredited
1963 Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow King George III
1963 The Sicilians Inspector Bressin
1964 Hot Enough for June Galushka
1964 Carry On Spying The Fat Man
1964 Night Train to Paris Krogh
1965 Joey Boy Antonio (Italian farmer)
1965 Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines Italian Mayor
1965 Thunderball Ernst Stavro Blofeld Voice, Uncredited
1966 Where the Spies Are Farouk
1967 Heißes Pflaster Köln Benno Trooger
1967 The Mini-Affair World Banker
1968 Mit Eichenlaub und Feigenblatt (de) Alter General
1968 Inspector Clouseau Bergesch
1970 Foreign Exchange Borensko TV film
1971 The Horsemen Merchant in Kandahar
1973 Tiffany Jones Jabal
1975 The Return of the Pink Panther Fat Man
1976 Auch Mimosen wollen blühen Iwan Pederenko
1976 Duett zu dritt
1979 Ashanti Zeda El-Kabir
1979 Tales from the Vienna Woods Mister
1980 Maria - Nur die Nacht war ihr Zeuge

External links[edit]

See also: Pohlmann and Pollak