Ulli Lommel

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Ulli Lommel
Ulli Lommel crop.jpg
Lommel in January 2007
Born (1944-12-21) 21 December 1944 (age 71)
Zielenzig, Oststernberg, Germany
(now Sulęcin, Lubuskie, Poland)
Occupation Actor, director
Spouse(s) Suzanna Love

Ulli Lommel (born 21 December 1944) is a German actor and director, noted for his many collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his association with the New German Cinema movement. Lommel is also well known for the time which he spent at The Factory and as a creative associate of Andy Warhol, with whom he made several films and works of art. Since 1977 he has lived and worked in the USA, where he has written, directed and starred in over 50 movies.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Zielenzig in 1944, a few weeks before the arrival of the Red Army, Lommel's family fled the city, wrapping the infant Ulli in a roll of carpet. His father, Ludwig Manfred Lommel, was a popular radio personality. His mother was the actress Karla van Cleef.

While living in Bad Nauheim as a teenager, Lommel performed with Elvis Presley.[2]


Lommel started his cinematic career as an actor in the early 1960s. One of his first film roles was in Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill, in which he starred alongside Italian actress Letícia Román.[3] This began a long series of roles in which Lommel would play a romantic, or gentlemanly lead.

In 1969, he appeared in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's directorial debut Love Is Colder Than Death. The movie, an existentialist, film noir, received a shocked and confused response at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1969,[4] but the cast as an ensemble would go on to win an award at the German Film Awards in 1970.

Fassbinder and Lommel worked together more than 20 times over the course of a decade after they first began their creative partnership, with several of their collaborations becoming multi-award winning movies.

In 1971, Fassbinder's surrealist western Whity,[5] which Lommel produced and starred in the leading role, won several German Film Awards (the German Oscars).[6] Shot in Almeria, Spain, in the summer of 1970, the shoot was so tumultuous and grueling that it became the source of inspiration for the subsequent Fassbinder film, Beware of a Holy Whore. Beware of a Holy Whore was a postmodern analysis of Fassbinder's career. in which he used fourth wall methods to poke fun at the trials and tribulations of filmmaking.

Lommel also starred in Fassbinder's The American Soldier (1975), World on a Wire (1973) and Chinese Roulette (1976) among others.

Lommel's second film as directorThe Tenderness of Wolves, which was produced by Fassbinder, was a drama about the murders of Fritz Haarmann. Haarmann was also the inspiration behind Fritz Lang's M. This was the feature which brought him to the attention of Andy Warhol, after the film was screened at a Chicago Film Festival.[7] A very enthusiastic review was written by the renowned critic Vincent Canby in the New York Times which stated:[8] "It is beautifully and enthusiastically performed and it doesn't contain a single superfluous or redundant camera movement. Like Mr. Fassbinder's own early films, "Tenderness of the Wolves" is cryptic, tough-talking and swaggering in the manner of someone who means to shock his elders. Like the early Warhol work, "Tenderness of the Wolves" seems to be sending up everyone and everything, but, unlike the Warhol movies, it takes filmmaking—the possibilities of the discipline—with complete seriousness."

It was nominated at the 23rd Berlin International Film Festival for the Golden Bear.[9]

Lommel moved to the United States in 1977 and started working with Andy Warhol. He became fascinated with Warhol's artistic style. Lommel owns an array of Warhol's polaroid photographs and pop art pieces.[10] Their friendship led to Warhol becoming involved with several of Lommel's films. He produced Cocaine Cowboys, a rock and roll western which starred Jack Palance. Warhol appeared in Lommel's Blank Generation (1980), a film which focused on the punk rock scene in New York City. It starred the punk icon Richard Hell and his band Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Several scenes were filmed in CBGB and offer an insight into the frenetic madness of the scene at the time.

In 1980, Lommel directed The Boogeyman (1980) which became a worldwide hit. The film gained notoriety in the UK, when it was added to the DPP 'Video Nasties' list. After the success of Boogeyman, Lommel made several more genre features, including Brainwaves (it) (1983), starring Tony Curtis and Vera Miles, The Devonsville Terror (1983) with Donald Pleasence, and Revenge of the Stolen Stars (1985) with Klaus Kinski.[11]

Since the mid-1980s, he has directed almost 30 films, from drama to action and horror to science fiction.

For a period of four years, Lommel made a series of direct-to-video movies based on the lives of serial killers, most of which were released through Lionsgate.[12]

In 2002 Ulli Lommel participated in the documentary Fassbinder in Hollywood, which is available as part of the Arrow Films and Video Fassbinder Collection (Vol 2).[13] The documentary contains an interview with Wim Wenders.

In the summer of 2013 Lommel went for nine months to Brazil to work on several projects. He completed his bio-epic documentary Mondo Americana and wrote a book.[14] Ulli Lommel: CAMPO BAHIA[15] and also made a film about Campo Bahia, the official camp for the German National Soccer Team in Brazil. In early June he started with the preproduction for the reimagining[16] of his famous cult-hit The Boogeyman (1980).

Lommel was celebrated as part of the Yes! Yes! Yes! Warholmania[17] event at the 2015 Munich Film Festival. Several screenings of his works with Warhol took place alongside a series of special interviews.[18]


As director[edit]

Lommel (left) with Andy Warhol on the set of Cocaine Cowboys (1979)

As actor[edit]

As producer[edit]

  • Anglia (1970)
  • Whity (1971)
  • Con la música a otra parte (1975)
  • The Boogeyman (1980)
  • Fassbinder in Hollywood (2002)
  • Daniel – Der Zauberer (2004)


  • "Video Watchdog" (USA) April 1998, Iss. 42, pg. 26+, by: Jeff Frentzen, "The Weird World of Ulli Lommel."
  • "The Globe and Mail" (Canada) 19 September 2006. by: Robert Matas, "I'm okay with being attacked." An interview with Ulli Lommel about the controversy surrounding his movie Killer Pickton.
  • "Release Print" (USA), Jan./Feb. 2007, by: Elina Shatkin, "Wolf Among Wolves: The Voluptuous Horror of Ulli Lommel."
  • Dark Side Magazine (UK) Issue 113. February. March 2005. by: Christopher O'Neill. Meet The Boogeyman.
  • Dark Side Magazine (UK) Issue 125. February. March 2007. by: Calum Waddell. Return of the Boogeyman.


External links[edit]