Gert Fröbe

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Gert Fröbe
Born Karl Gerhart Fröbe
(1913-02-25)25 February 1913
Oberplanitz (now Zwickau), Saxony, German Empire
Died 5 September 1988(1988-09-05) (aged 75)
Munich, Bavaria, West Germany
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality German
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–1988
Spouse(s) Karin Kuderer-Pistorius (1970–?)
Beate Bach (1962–1968)
Hannelore Görtz (1953–1959)
Tatjana Iwanow (one child)
Clara Peter (one child)
Gert Fröbe

Karl Gerhart Fröbe, better known as Gert Fröbe (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛɐt ˈfʁøːbə]; 25 February 1913 – 5 September 1988), was a German film actor known 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 and as Hotzenplotz in Der Räuber Hotzenplotz.

Early life[edit]

Karl Gerhart 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 it in 1937.[2] During the Nazis' reign, he aided two German Jews by hiding them from the Gestapo.[3]

In September 1944, the Nazis closed down theatres in Germany and he was drafted into the German Army where he served till the end of World War II.[4]

Acting career[edit]

Fröbe gained fame in one of the first German films made after the Second World War, called Berliner Ballade (The Ballad of Berlin, 1948). His character's name, "Otto Normalverbraucher" (lit. Otto Average Consumer), became a German term equivalent to "Average Joe" or "Joe Bloggs".[5] In 1958, he was cast as the villain in the Swiss-German film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (It Happened in Broad Daylight), with the original screenplay written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. His role as a serial killer of children drew the attention of the producers of the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger and he was chosen to play one of the best remembered villains of the series, gold tycoon Auric Goldfinger. Because of his former membership in the Nazi Party, Goldfinger was initially banned in Israel until a Jewish family he had protected during the war came forward and thanked him for saving their lives.[3]

Fröbe made several appearances in all-star casts in the 1960s, including the films The Longest Day, Is Paris Burning?, Monte Carlo or Bust and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. He also appeared in $ (1971) with Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty. During the 1980s, Fröbe played small parts in Mercedes Benz W123 commercials, helping to promote the coupé and the sedan.[6]

Besides acting, Fröbe was a prolific reciter of lyric poetry, especially that of Christian Morgenstern and Joachim Ringelnatz.[citation needed]

Fröbe died in Munich in September 1988 at age 75 from a heart attack.[7]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1948 Berliner Ballade Otto Normalverbraucher
1952 The Day Before the Wedding
1953 Salto Mortale
1954 The Eternal Waltz Gawriloff
1955 Heroes and Sinners Hermann
Mr. Arkadin
1956 Winter in the Woods Gerstenberg
1957 The Mad Bomberg
Robinson soll nicht sterben (de) Mr. Gillis
Typhon sur Nagasaki
He Who Must Die Patriarcheos
The Heart of St. Pauli
1958 It Happened in Broad Daylight Schrott
Nasser Asphalt Jupp
Rosemary Willy Bruster
Grabenplatz 17 (de) Titu Goritsch
1959 Prisoner of the Volga Professor
The Forests Sing Forever Dag
Menschen im Hotel Preysing
Am Tag, als der Regen kam (de) Doctor Albert Maurer
Der Schatz vom Toplitzsee (de) Johannes Grohmann
Old Heidelberg Doctor Jüttner
1960 The High Life Doctor Kölling
The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse Inspector Kras
Der Gauner und der liebe Gott (de) Paul Wittkowski
1961 The Green Archer Abel Bellamy
Via Mala Jonas Lauretz
The Return of Doctor Mabuse [note 1] Kommissar Lohmann USA screening in 1966
Auf Wiedersehen Angelo Pirrone
1962 Redhead Kramer
Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (de) Kommissar Lohmann
The Longest Day Unteroffizier Kaffeekanne
1963 Le Meurtrier (fr) Melchior Kimmel
Die Dreigroschenoper (de) Peachum
Banana Peel (fr) Raymond Lachard
1964 Greed in the Sun Castigliano
Tonio Kröger Policeman Peterson
Backfire Karl Fehrman
Goldfinger Auric Goldfinger
1965 A High Wind in Jamaica Dutch Captain
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines Colonel Manfred von Holstein
Who Wants to Sleep? Emil Claasen
1966 Du rififi à Paname (fr) Walter
Ganovenehre (de) Importen-Paul
Is Paris Burning? General Dietrich von Choltitz
Triple Cross Colonel Steinhager
1967 I Killed Rasputin Grigori Rasputin
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon Professor von Bulow
1968 Caroline chérie (fr) Doctor Belhomme
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Baron Bomburst
1969 Monte Carlo or Bust [note 2] Willi Schickel / Horst Muller
1971 $ Mr. Kessel
1972 Ludwig Father Hoffmann
1974 Der Räuber Hotzenplotz (de) Hotzenplotz
And Then There Were None Wilhelm Blore Dubbed into English by Robert Rietti.
Nuits Rouges Commissaire Sorbier
1975 Docteur Justice (fr) Max Orwall
1976 Death Rite Vestar
1977 The Serpent's Egg Inspector Bauer
Tod oder Freiheit (de) Graf von Buttlar
1978 Der Schimmelreiter (de) Tede Volkerts
1979 Bloodline Inspector Max Hornung
1980 The Umbrella Coup Otto Krampe ("Whale")
1982 The Falcon Jug Bogdan
1986 The Little Vampire (TV series) Detective Gurrmeyer


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


  1. ^ Fokart, Burt A. (September 7, 1988). Obituary: "Gert Frobe, 75; Portrayed Goldfinger in Bond Movie". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ (February 2nd, 2010 (retrieved 11-30-2010)). Hotzenplotz und Pickelhaube.
  3. ^ a b "Gert Frobe, an Actor, Dies at 75". Associated Press/The New York Times. (September 6, 1988)
  4. ^ Folkart, Burt A. "Gert Frobe, 75; Portrayed Goldfinger in Bond Movie". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Deutsches Bühnen-Jahrbuch. Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  6. ^ Lester, Nicholas. "Mercedes-Benz Fascination W123 Coupe Documentary (English)". YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  7. ^ AP. "Gert Frobe, an Actor, Dies at 75". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 

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