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Gert Fröbe

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Gert Fröbe
Fröbe at the premiere of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines in 1965
Karl Gerhart Fröbe

(1913-02-25)25 February 1913
Died5 September 1988(1988-09-05) (aged 75)
Years active1948–1987
Political partyNazi Party (1929–1937)
Spouse(s)Karin Kuderer-Pistorius (1970–?)
Beate Bach (1962–1968)
Hannelore Görtz (1953–1959)
Tatjana Iwanow
Clara Peter

Karl Gerhart "Gert" Fröbe (German: [ˈɡɛɐ̯t ˈfʁøːbə] ; 25 February 1913 – 5 September 1988) was a German actor. He was known in English-speaking countries for his work as Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger, as Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, as Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as Hotzenplotz in The Robber Hotzenplotz, General Dietrich von Choltitz in Is Paris Burning? and Colonel Manfred von Holstein in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

Fröbe was a three-time German Film Award nominee, twice for Best Leading Actor and once for Best Supporting Actor. In 1978, he won an honorary award for "outstanding individual contributions to the German cinema over the years."

Early life and education[edit]

Fröbe was born in Oberplanitz, today part of Zwickau. He was initially a violinist, but he abandoned it for Kabarett and theatre work.[1]

He joined the Nazi Party in 1929 at the age of 16 and left in 1937, before the outbreak of the Second World War.[2] After his party membership became known after the war, Israel banned Fröbe's films until Mario Blumenau, a Jewish survivor, revealed just eight weeks later that his life and his mother's were probably saved when Fröbe hid them from the Nazis in his basement.[3]

In September 1944, theatres in Germany were closed down and Fröbe was drafted into the German Army, where he served until the end of the war.[1]


Fröbe gained fame in one of the first German films made after the War, called Berliner Ballade (The Ballad of Berlin, 1948). His character's name, "Otto Normalverbraucher" (lit. Otto Average Consumer), became the German term equivalent to "Average Joe".[4]

He was cast as the villain in the Swiss-West German-Spanish film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (It Happened in Broad Daylight, 1958), with the original screenplay written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. His role as a serial killer of children drew the attention of the producers of the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964) and he was chosen to play one of the best remembered villains of the series, gold tycoon Auric Goldfinger. He later remarked, "The ridiculous thing is that since I played Goldfinger in the James Bond film there are some people who still insist on seeing me as a cold, ruthless villain – a man without laughs."[5]

Fröbe in 1965

Fröbe made several appearances in all-star casts in the 1960s, including the films The Longest Day (1962), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), Is Paris Burning? (1966),Triple Cross (1966), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and Monte Carlo or Bust (1969).

During the 1980s, Fröbe was a spokesman in Mercedes Benz W123 commercials, helping to promote the coupé and the sedan.


Fröbe died in Munich in September 1988 at age 75 from a heart attack.[3] He was buried at the Waldfriedhof cemetery in Icking.


Year Title Role Language Notes
1948 Der Herr vom andern Stern [de] Extra German Uncredited
The Berliner Otto Normalverbraucher German
1949 After the Rain Comes Sunshine Konstantin German
1951 Decision Before Dawn German Corporal English Uncredited
1952 The Day Before the Wedding Rundfunkreporter German
1953 Man on a Tightrope Police Agent English Uncredited
Salto Mortale Jan German
A Heart Plays False Briefüberbringer German
The Postponed Wedding Night Gondoliere German
Arlette Conquers Paris Manager Edmond Duval German
Wedding in Transit Herr Mengwasser German
1954 The Little Town Will Go to Sleep Oskar Blume German
Daybreak Bit part German
The Hunter's Cross Kobbe German
They Were So Young Lobos English
A Double Life Mittelmeier German
The Eternal Waltz Gawriloff German
1955 Special Delivery Olaf English
The Dark Star Deltorri German
I Know What I'm Living For Pfeifer, Inspektor Jugendfürsorge German
Mr. Arkadin Munich Detective English
The Heroes Are Tired Hermann French
The Forest House in Tyrol Bäuerle, Kaufmann German
1956 The Girl from Flanders Rittmeister Kupfer German
Ein Herz schlägt für Erika [de] Heubacher German
Winter in the Woods Gerstenberg German
1957 Typhoon Over Nagasaki Ritter French
The Girl and the Legend Mr. Gillis German
He Who Must Die Patriarcheos French
The Mad Bomberg Kommerzienrat Gustav-Eberhard Mühlberg German
Charming Boys Edmond Petersen French
The Heart of St. Pauli Jabowski German
1958 Not Delivered Hans French
Nasser Asphalt Jupp German
It Happened in Broad Daylight Schrott German
Rosemary Willy Bruster German
Grabenplatz 17 [de] Titu Goritsch German
The Crammer Freddy Blei German
The Girl with the Cat Eyes [de] Tessmann German
1959 Nick Knatterton's Adventure Hugo German
Prisoner of the Volga Professor English
Douze heures d'horloge [fr] Blanche French
Jons und Erdme Smailus German
The Forests Sing Forever Dag German
Menschen im Hotel Preysing German
The Day the Rains Came Doctor Albert Maurer German
Der Schatz vom Toplitzsee [de] Johannes Grohmann German
Old Heidelberg Doctor Jüttner German
1960 The High Life Doctor Kölling German
Le Bois des amants [fr] The General French
Soldatensender Calais Der Chef German
The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse Inspector Kras German
Until Money Departs You Jupp Grapsch German
Crook and the Cross [de] Paul Wittkowski German
1961 The Green Archer Abel Bellamy German
Via Mala Jonas Lauretz German
The Return of Doctor Mabuse [note 1] Kommissar Lohmann German USA screening in 1966
Auf Wiedersehen Angelo Pirrone German
1962 Redhead Kramer German
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Kommissar Lohmann German
The Longest Day Sgt. Kaffeekanne English
1963 Enough Rope Melchior Kimmel French
Heute kündigt mir mein Mann [de] Alfred Paulsen German
Three Penny Opera [de] Peachum German
Banana Peel Raymond Lachard French
1964 Greed in the Sun Castigliano French
Tonio Kröger Policeman Peterson German
Backfire Karl Fehrman French
Goldfinger Auric Goldfinger English Dubbed into English by Michael Collins.
1965 A High Wind in Jamaica Dutch Captain English
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines Colonel Manfred von Holstein English
Who Wants to Sleep? Emil Claasen German
1966 The Upper Hand Walter French
Ganovenehre [de] Importen-Paul German
Is Paris Burning? General Dietrich von Choltitz English
Triple Cross Colonel Steinhager English
1967 I Killed Rasputin Grigori Rasputin English
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon Professor von Bulow English
1968 Darling Caroline Doctor Belhomme French
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Baron Bomburst English
1969 Monte Carlo or Bust [note 2] Willi Schickel / Horst Muller English
1971 $ Mr. Kessel English
1972 Ludwig Father Hoffmann English
1974 The Robber Hotzenplotz [de] Hotzenplotz German
And Then There Were None Wilhelm Blore English Dubbed into English by Robert Rietti.
Nuits Rouges Commissaire Sorbier French
1975 Docteur Justice [fr] Max Orwall French
1976 Death Rite Vestar French
1977 Das Gesetz des Clans [de] Philip Brown German
The Serpent's Egg Inspector Bauer English
Death or Freedom [de] Graf von Buttlar German
1978 The Rider on the White Horse Tede Volkerts German
Der Tiefstapler [de] Felix von Korn German
1979 Bloodline Inspector Max Hornung English
1980 The Umbrella Coup Otto Krampe ("Whale") French
1981 The Falcon Jug Bogdan Serbo-Croatian
1983 The Abduction of the Sabine Women [de] Emanuel Striese German TV film
1986–1987 The Little Vampire Detective Gurrmeyer German TV series, 13 episodes


  1. ^ Also known as The Phantom Fiend.
  2. ^ Also known as Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies.


  1. ^ a b Fokart, Burt A. (7 September 1988). "Gert Frobe, 75; Portrayed Goldfinger in Bond Movie". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ "Hotzenplotz und Pickelhaube". kultiversum.de (in German). 2 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Gert Frobe, an Actor, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Associated Press. 6 September 1988. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  4. ^ Deutsches Bühnen-Jahrbuch. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  5. ^ Battersby, Matilda (2 January 2013). "'No, Mr Bond, I Expect You to Die': Showdown Between Goldfinger and Sean Connery Voted Greatest James Bond Moment". The Independent. Retrieved 14 July 2019.

External links[edit]

James Bond
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Preceded by Villain Actor
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