Hardy Krüger obituary | Movies

By way of high quality, the Nineteen Fifties was a poor interval for West German cinema, nonetheless recovering from the second world conflict, but it surely was additionally the time when quite a few German actors turned recognized internationally – amongst them Curt Jürgens, Romy Schneider, Horst Buchholz, Maria Schell, and Hardy Krüger, who has died aged 93. They usually performed “good Germans” to counterbalance the Nazi stereotypes within the allied movies of the Nineteen Forties.

The great-looking, boyish blond Krüger, having performed romantic leads in light-weight movies in his homeland, turned the face of the brand new Germany most importantly in The One That Obtained Away (1957). This British movie for J Arthur Rank, directed by Roy Ward Baker, and based mostly on the true story of Franz von Werra, who escaped from an allied PoW camp, was one of many first to depict a sympathetic German character. Made solely 12 years after the top of the conflict, the movie forces the viewers to establish with the German pilot, whose ambition is to get again to his squadron and trigger extra harm to Britain. This impact was achieved primarily by Krüger’s charismatic efficiency, each charming and cocky.

Hardy Krüger as Franz von Werra in his 1957 film breakthrough, Roy Ward Baker’s The One That Got Away.
Hardy Krüger as Franz von Werra in his 1957 movie breakthrough, Roy Ward Baker’s The One That Obtained Away. {Photograph}: Rex/Shutterstock

After this nice success, Krüger was solid in two extra British movies for Rank, Bachelor of Hearts (1958) and Blind Date (launched within the US as Likelihood Assembly, 1959). The previous was a likable romantic comedy set in Cambridge, the place Krüger, convincingly naive, is a German trade scholar making an attempt to grasp the unusual rituals of the college. Blind Date, in distinction, was a gritty thriller, directed by Joseph Losey, through which Krüger is a Dutch painter in London who turns into embroiled in a political scandal.

It’s putting that in all three of the Rank films audiences have been requested to sympathise with the international character towards the British.


Krüger’s worldwide profession now actually launched, the following twenty years noticed him in American, British, French, Italian and Spanish productions. In 1962, he made his Hollywood debut in Howard Hawks’s Hatari!, shot in east Africa, which gave Krüger second billing below John Wayne. Wayne heads a global group of hunters, with Krüger because the crack shot and rival of Gérard Blain for the attentions of Michèle Girardon.

Hardy Krüger, right, with John Wayne in Howard Hawks’s Hatari!, 1962.
Hardy Krüger, proper, with John Wayne in Howard Hawks’s Hatari!, 1962. {Photograph}: Paramount/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

Krüger was so taken with Tanganyika (now Tanzania) that he constructed a small bungalow lodge on the positioning of the movie’s location to which he may escape every so often and the place vacationers may see the animals. He bought it in 1979 due to political unrest.

In Sundays and Cybèle (1962), the shock winner of the international language movie Oscar, Krüger performed a former pilot affected by amnesia who forges a friendship with a younger orphan woman (Patricia Gozzi) in a small city close to Paris. However once they innocently spend Christmas collectively within the woods, he’s suspected of assaulting her. The nice and cozy taking part in of Krüger and Gozzi because the odd couple helped counteract among the self-conscious appeal and aesthetics of Serge Bourguignon’s route.

Hardy Krüger, right, with Richard Attenborough, left, and James Stewart in The Flight of the Phoenix, 1965.
Hardy Krüger, proper, with Richard Attenborough, left, and James Stewart in The Flight of the Phoenix, 1965. {Photograph}: Cinetext/Allstar Assortment/twentieth Century Fox

In Robert Aldrich’s The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), Krüger was excellent in a solid that included James Stewart, Peter Finch and Richard Attenborough. As one of many survivors of a airplane that crash-lands within the Sahara, he convinces the others that he can construct a single-engine airplane from the wreckage.

Krüger’s cool East German spy created a nice distinction to the nervous efficiency of Montgomery Clift (in his final function) as a CIA agent within the murky chilly conflict thriller The Defector (1966). As a German captain in Stanley Kramer’s raucous comedy The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969), set in an Italian village below German occupation, Krüger introduced a lightness of contact lacking from the opposite characterisations, particularly the 2 leads, Anthony Quinn and Anna Magnani.

Hary Krüger, left, with, from left, Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris in The Wild Geese, 1978.
Hardy Krüger, left, with, from left, Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris in The Wild Geese, 1978. {Photograph}: Rank/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Different notable appearances got here in The Crimson Tent (1971), Paper Tiger (1975), Barry Lyndon (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977) and The Wild Geese (1978), within the final of which Krüger performed Pieter Coetzee, an Afrikaner mercenary. He was again in German uniform for certainly one of his final roles, as Subject Marshal Erwin Rommel within the US miniseries Struggle and Remembrance (1988), based mostly on Herman Wouk’s novel.

Krüger was born in Berlin. His mother and father, Max Krüger, an engineer, and Auguste (nee Meier), have been ardent supporters of Hitler and despatched their son to an elite Nazi faculty. Like a majority of younger German boys, he turned a member of the Hitler Youth motion. “The scars on my soul survive,” Krüger stated later. “An nearly exaggerated need for justice arose in me since that point.”

Billed as Eberhard Krüger, he made his movie debut in The Younger Eagles (1944), one of many final movies made in Nazi Germany, set primarily at an plane manufacturing unit. Krüger performed a younger apprentice working time beyond regulation to assist construct planes for the conflict effort. On set, Krüger realized from older actors extra concerning the horrors of Nazi rule.

Whereas nonetheless a teen, in 1945 he was drafted into the SS “Nibelungen” Division. “I knew the conflict was misplaced,” he informed the Bild newspaper in 2006. “I knew that there have been focus camps and that the Nazis have been a bunch of criminals.” He abandoned and was captured by American forces. A few years later, throughout the filming of the conflict epic A Bridge Too Far, through which he portrayed a Nazi common, Krüger wore a topcoat over his SS uniform between takes as a result of he “hated that Nazi uniform” and in order “to not remind myself of my childhood in Germany”.

Hardy Krüger with Maximilian Schell in A Bridge Too Far, 1977, in which he portrayed an SS officer. He covered up his costume between takes and said he ‘hated that Nazi uniform’.
Hardy Krüger with Maximilian Schell in A Bridge Too Far, 1977, through which he portrayed an SS officer. He coated up his costume between takes and stated he ‘hated that Nazi uniform’. {Photograph}: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

From the early Nineteen Fifties, Krüger appeared in two to 3 movies a 12 months, primarily escapist stuff strictly for residence consumption – his honest appeal pervading all of them. In 1953, the director Otto Preminger determined to make each an English and a German language model of the romantic comedy The Moon Is Blue. The German model, Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach, starred Krüger and Johanna Matz within the roles initially taken by William Holden and Maggie McNamara, and every couple made cameo appearances within the different movie. Krüger thereafter more and more pursued worldwide roles.

He had a second profession as a author of novels, brief tales and memoirs. He additionally turned a campaigner towards rightwing violence. In 2001, Krüger was made an officer of the Légion d’honneur, one of many few German actors to have acquired the French ornament.

Two marriages led to divorce. He’s survived by his third spouse, Anita Park, by a daughter, Christiane, from his first marriage, to Renate Densow, and by two kids, Malaika and Hardy Jr, from his second marriage, to Francesca Marazzi.


Hardy (Eberhard August Franz Ewald) Krüger, actor, born 12 April 1928; died 19 January 2022

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