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Rex Gildo (2 July 1936 – 26 October 1999) was a German singer of Schlager ballads who reached the height of his popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, selling over 25 million records and starring in film and television roles.
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Gildo was born Ludwig Franz Hirtreiter in Straubing, Bavaria; in the mid-1950s he adopted the stage name Alexander Gildo, later shortening it to Rex Gildo. He claimed for many years to have been a member of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir before attending acting school, however a documentary on German television a decade after his death in 2009 revealed that in fact he had worked in a decorating apprenticeship before he met Fred Miekley, who would become his manager/longtime companion.
Gildo's first performance was with the Munich Kammerspiele theatre group in 1956, but he quickly moved into television and film, as well as performing as a singer, most famously duetting with Danish singer Gitte Haenning as "Gitte & Rex". His most popular songs, such as Speedy Gonzales (1962), Goodbye Susanna (1965) and Fiesta Mexicana (1972), were popular during the 1960s and 1970s in Germany. His music and films sold well there but less so abroad. He also starred in his own television program, Gestatten – Rex Gildo.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Gildo's popularity decreased. His appearances were mainly at folk festivals, shopping centres and other similar venues; he was also reported to have problems with alcoholism. His final performance, on the day of his suicide attempt, was in front of more than 3000 people at a furniture shop outside Frankfurt.
Personal life and death
In 1974, Gildo married his cousin Marion Ohlsen in a "Lavender marriage". The couple had no children and separated in 1990. After his death it was published that he was gay and had a relationship with Dave Klingeberg, his secretary, and with whom he lived for 7 years.
Gildo died in 1999, aged 63, having spent three days in an artificially-induced coma after attempting suicide by jumping from the window of his apartment building. He was said to have been suffering psychological problems.
- Immer wenn der Tag beginnt (1957), as Max Clement
- Schmutziger Engel (1958), as Peter Utesch
- Wenn die Conny mit dem Peter (1958), as Gerd Weidner
- Hula-Hopp, Conny (1959), as Billy Newman
- Ja, so ein Mädchen mit 16 (1959), as Rex
- My Niece Doesn't Do That (1960), as Robert
- Am Sonntag will mein Süßer mit mir segeln gehn (1961), as Tommy
- Dance with Me into the Morning (1962), as Stefan Breuer
- Sing, aber spiel nicht mit mir (1963), as Billie Bill
- Und wenn der ganze Schnee verbrennt (1963), as Rolf
- Apartmentzauber (1963), as Karl Fischer
- Jetzt dreht die Welt sich nur um dich (1964), as Martin Fischer
- Tausend Takte Übermut (1965), as Rick Tanner
- What Is the Matter with Willi? (1970), as Frankie Kuhländer
- Unsere Tante ist das Letzte (1973), as Martin Klamm
- Hit Parade 1960 (1960)
- Marina (1960)
- O sole mio (1960)
- Die Hazy Osterwald Story (1961)
- Café Oriental (1962)
- Our Crazy Nieces (1963)
- Maskenball bei Scotland Yard (1963)
- Otto ist auf Frauen scharf (1968)
- Rex Gildo on IMDb
- "Rex Gildo: Der große Streit ums Erbe". Berliner Morgenpost (in German). 26 October 2000.
- Blom, Phillip (29 October 1999). "Obituary: Rex Gildo". The Independent. LookSmart Ltd. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
- Koymasky, Matt & Andrei (25 June 2007). "Rex Gildo". Archived from the original on 7 August 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
- van der Meyden, Henk (28 October 1999). "Rex Gildo overleden". Di Telegraaf-i (in Dutch). Dagblad De Telegraaf, Amsterdam. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
- "German pop singer Gildo dies". Associated Press Archive. Associated Press. 28 October 1999. Retrieved 22 October 2007.