Rosalie Helga Lina Zech (7 July 1942 – 31 August 2011), known as Rosel Zech, was a German theater and film actress, especially with the "Autorenkino" ("Author's Cinema") movement, which began in the 1970s.
Rosel Zech was born in Berlin; her father was an inland waterway boatman and her mother a dressmaker; they were unmarried. She was raised in Hoya, Germany. Her performing led her, at the age of 20, to Lower Bavaria, where in 1962 her first theatrical engagement was in the South Bavarian City Theater (now the Lower Bavarian State Theatre) in Landshut.
This was followed by other roles at various other theaters, such as in 1964 at the Städtebundtheater in Biel and at the summer theater in Winterthur. Two years later she played at the Schauspielhaus Wuppertal. From 1970 to 1972, she appeared on stage at the Staatstheater Stuttgart then at the Schauspielhaus Bochum.
During the season 1978-1979 Rosel Zech was active in Hamburg at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus and then returned to her native city of Berlin, where she acted on the Volksbühne. In 1981 she was hired by the Bayerischen Staatsschauspiel in Munich. Four years later she was seen again at the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. 2009 she worked with in the Luisenburg Festival in the play Mother Courage as Anna Fierlinger.
Film and television
She made her 1970 television debut in The Pot. In 1973 she appeared in a small role in The Tenderness of Wolves with Kurt Raab and Margit Carstensen. On the set she met Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who produced the film. She and Fassbinder began an extended collaboration. The same year, Peter Zadek cast the actress in his film version of Kleiner Mann – was nun? ("Little man - what now?" with Heinrich Giskes and Hannelore Hoger.
Other films and TV movies followed, among which were a film version of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. In the children's film Vorstadtkrokodile from 1977, she played Mrs. Wolferman, the mother of one of the "crocodiles". She appeared in Peter Fleischmann's 1979 science fiction film Die Hamburger Krankheit.
In 1981, she was cast by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in the film Lola (1981) in a supporting role as the wife of Mario Adorf. Fassbinder immediately chose her for his next project, Veronika Voss, and cast her in the lead. This second Fassbinder film was inspired by the life of the UFA actress Sybille Schmitz, and Rosel Zech's convincing portrayal of the morphine-addicted actress turned Zech into a star overnight. The film was awarded in 1982 in the Berlin International Film Festival with a Golden Bear. In the following years, Zech focused mainly on work in television and appeared in numerous television series and television films, as well as in regular theater productions in Berlin, where she lived during her last years.
She died of bone cancer in Berlin on 31 August 2011, aged 69. Following a cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2011, Zech had not been able to resume her regular role as a nun in the German TV series Um Himmels Willen (For Heaven's Sake).
- 1968: Förderpreis des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
- 1976: Schauspielerin des Jahres der Zeitschrift Theater heute for Hedda Gabler
- 1982: Goldener Bär der Berlinale for Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss
- 1983: Deutscher Darstellerpreis for Mascha
- 1990: Kainz-Medaille der Stadt Wien for Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht
- 1991: 1. Preis des World Film Festival in Montreal for Salmonberries
- 1992: Bayerischer Filmpreis (Beste Darstellerin) for Salmonberries
- 1999: Bayerischer Verdienstorden
- 2001: Merkur-Theaterpreis der Zeitung Münchner Merkur for Afterplay
- Scott Roxborough "'Veronica Voss' Actress Rosel Zech Dies of Cancer", Hollywood Reporter, 1 September 2011
- Ronald Bergan Obituary:Ronald Bergan, The Guardian, 4 September 2011
- Official Website of Rosel Zech
- Demo tape of Rosel Zech at schauspielervideos.de
- Rosel Zech at the Internet Movie Database
- Literature by and about Rosel Zech in the German National Library catalogue
- Rosel Zech on www.prisma-online.de
- Rosel Zech on www.zdf.de
- New York Times obituary