Theo Lingen Poster


Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (31)

Overview (3)

Born in Hanover, Germany
Died in Vienna, Austria
Birth NameFranz Theodor Schmitz

Mini Bio (1)

Theo Lingen was born on June 10, 1903 in Hanover, Germany as Franz Theodor Schmitz. He was an actor and director, known for M (1931), Till Eulenspiegel: Wie Eulenspiegel sich einmal erbot, zu fliegen (1936) and Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933). He was married to Marianne Zoff. He died on November 10, 1978 in Vienna, Austria.

Spouse (1)

Marianne Zoff (1 October 1928 - 10 November 1978) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (31)

Father of Ursula Lingen, stepfather of Hanne Hiob, son-in-law of Otto Andreas Zoff and Zdenka Zoff née Jellinek.
Is interred at the Central Cemetery in Vienna.
After World War II, he was chosen mayor of Strobl, an Austrian community, for a short period.
Ensemble member at the famous Burgtheater in Vienna from 1948 until his death, playing many character roles.
Made his stage debut at the Schauburg in Hannover without having attended acting lessons (1921).
Being married to singer Marianne Zoff, who was half Jewish, he thought about leaving Germany after the Nazi takeover. As he was one of the most popular comedians, Joseph Goebbels gave him a special permission to continue working.
His stage name refers to his father's place of birth, Lingen.
On stage from the age of eighteen.
Nasally-voiced star comic of prolific output, the son of a lawyer. He appeared in just about anything, from musical comedies to crime thrillers. After 1945, Lingen formed a popular comedic partnership with the Austrian comedian Hans Moser. He excelled at supercilious or officious types, immaculate butlers and disdainful servants, prissy secretaries and pedantic school principals.
Ensemble member of the Preußisches Staatstheater, 1936-44.
Discovered for films by the director Anatol Litvak.
After the war he became a naturalized Austrian citizen, and from 1948 worked as a character actor at the Vienna Burgtheater and appeared frequently onstage in Germany, most notably in Carl Sternheim satires directed by Rudolf Noelte.
He didn't confine to the play on the stage but also wrote own plays which he directed himself.
In February 1928, Lingen's daughter, Ursula, was born to Bertold Brecht's then wife Marianne Zoff (1893-1984). Brecht and Zoff divorced in September; Lingen and Zoff married later the same year, they also raised Zoff's elder daughter Hanne. Conditions worsened after the Machtergreifung of 30 January 1933: Because Zoff was of Jewish descent, which under the Nazi regime usually resulted in a professional disqualification (Berufsverbot), Lingen thought about going into exile. However because of his great popularity with the general public he was given a special permit by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to continue to perform and was able to protect his wife from persecution.
In 1929 he was invited by Bertolt Brecht to the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin, where he performed as Macheath in The Threepenny Opera.
Foremeost he pursued his film career, performing in numerous comedies of varied quality, in his later days of the 1970s also on television, for example as an presenter for Laurel and Hardy films.
In the 60's he got the chance to show his acting repertoire for television where he was able to impersonate serious roles too like in "Die Kassette" (1961), "Minna von Barnhelm" (1963), "Tonio Kröger" (1964) and "Was ihr wollt" (1968).
His often played figures like servants and dignitaries enjoyed a huge popularity and the German comedies weren't any longer imaginable without Theo Lingen.
After the war he went on tour through Austrian cities. In 1946 he got the Austrian nationality and he continued his theater career in the German-speaking Europe till to the 70's.
In 1944 Lingen moved to Vienna, and in view of the approaching Red Army retired to his cottage at Strobl on the Wolfgangsee shortly afterwards. Here for a few days in May 1945, he acted as de facto mayor, when he managed to dis-empower the local Nazi authorities and surrendered to the US Army at St. Gilgen. Lingen's measures were followed by the liberation of King Leopold III of Belgium and his wife by the 106th Cavalry Regiment.
The film called him up in 1930 and it began an enormous busy time which was lasting till to the 70's.
He made his theater debut at the Boulevardtheater Schauburg in Hannover in 1921. In the following years he played among others at the Stadttheater Münster, at the Neues Theater in Frankfurt and from 1931 at different places in Berlin.
He attended the Royal Goethe Gymnasium - the predecessor of the Goethe School - in Hanover, but left before taking the Abitur (final exams). His theatrical talent was discovered during rehearsals for a school performance at the Schauburg boulevard theatre.
The post-war film offered Theo Lingen especially at the beginning interesting roles, so "Der Theodor im Fussballtor" (1950), "Die Diebin von Bagdad" (1952), "Heidi" (1952), and "Der Mustergatte" (1956). But the German entertainment film sagged more and more into triviality and dragged the in comparable comedian with it. Theo Lingen often impersonated hyper nervous characters whose comic effect only moved on the surface, more demanding roles were exceptional. Still the comedies and slapstick movies enjoyed great popularity and maintained Theo Lingen's fame.
Beginning his professional stage career, the young actor adopted as a stage name his middle name together with that of the birthplace of his father, Lingen in the North German Emsland region.
The funny effect which Theo Lingen's performance had to the public, wasn't to miss. From 1933 the comedy movies became his domain and Hans Moser became an important partner with whom he played together in more than 20 movies.
Theo Lingen died of cancer in 1978 at the age of 75 in Vienna. The city of Vienna dedicated a grave to him at the Zentralfriedhof. The municipalities of Strobl and Lingen (in 2007) have named squares in his honor.
He appeared in more than 230 films between 1929 and 1978, and directed 21 films between 1936 and 1960.
At the begin of his film career he also appeared in dance and gangster movies in which he wasn't employed as a comedian.
He starred in drama films like M and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse directed by Fritz Lang and also directed films like Hauptsache glücklich (1941) starring Heinz Rühmann.
In 1936 Gustaf Gründgens placed Lingen at the ensemble of the Berlin Prussian State Theatre.

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