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Heinrich George Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (30)

Overview (3)

Born in Stettin, Pomerania, Germany [now Szczecin, Zachodniopomorskie, Poland]
Died in Soviet Special Camp No. 7, Oranienburg, Brandenburg, Germany  (malnutrition preventing recovery from an appendectomy)
Birth NameGeorg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz

Mini Bio (1)

Heinrich George was born on October 9, 1893 in Stettin, Pomerania, Germany as Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz. He was an actor and producer, known for Metropolis (1927), Kolberg (1945) and Die Degenhardts (1944). He was married to Berta Drews. He died on September 25, 1946 in Soviet Special Camp No. 7, Oranienburg, Brandenburg, Germany.

Spouse (1)

Berta Drews (1932 - 26 September 1946) ( his death)

Trivia (30)

Father of actor Götz George (born 23 July 1938).
Father of actor Jan George (born 1932).
Although being active in Germany's Communist Party before the Nazi takeover, he later played in a number of propaganda films before and during World War II, including Our Flags Lead Us Forward (1933) and Jud Süß (1940).
After World War II, he and his wife Berta Drews were imprisoned by the Soviet Army in June 1945, first in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, then in the former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen, where he died during an appendix operation in September 1946. His remains were found and identified in an unmarked mass grave in a forest near Sachsenhausen in 1994.
Performed on stage under Germany's most famous left-wing directors Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator in the 1920s.
Is buried in the Städtischer Friedhof Berlin-Zehlendorf.
Although it is inaccurate to say he is actually a character in Peter Handke's "anti-play," "The Ride Across Lake Constance," his name is used as a designation of a character, as are the names of other celebrated actors of the German cinema, Elisabeth Bergner, Erich von Stroheim, Emil Jannings, Henny Porten and the twins Alice Kessler and Ellen Kessler.
Some published reports state that George actually died of starvation in the Soviet detention camp of Sachsenhausen. According to these, the authorities pressured the camp physician to report the death as following an appendectomy.
Formed his own production company at Tobis in 1942.
Served in the German army as a volunteer during World War I, repatriated after being severely wounded in 1917.
He soon became established as a complex character actor.
The young Heinrich George, who already as a child was stocky, lived only for his violin play. Later he was sent to serve his apprenticeship with a Stettiner town council. But the dream of George was to conduct a great orchestra.
Cooke and Silberman describe him as "the actor most closely tied with fascist fantasies of the autocratic and the populist leader".
His father didn't agree with his wish to become an actor but his mother supported his intention. Now his life went on in rapid succession.
When the political situation in Germany came to a head, George first was prohibited to work as an actor because for his sympathy for the Communists. But he soon came to an agreement with the NS regime und took over an active role in the propaganda machinery. This enabled him to continue his film career and he was convincing besides propaganda productions like "Hitlerjunge Quex" (1933) with his performances in "Das Mädchen Johanna" (1935), "Der Biberpelz" (1937) and "Das unsterbliche Herz" (1939).
On account of his great success in Germany he was engaged to Hollywood in 1931 where he acted in two German-language versions of American movies.
After permanent complaints of his town council George's father sent him to Berlin. There he got in touch with the theater as he took on casual works as an extra. His new dream took shape: The acting.
Only in 1994 they found the remains of Heinrich George in a forest because of a hint of a cell mate. Due to a DNA analysis he could be identified. He found his last resting-place at the cemetery of Berlin-Zehlendorf.
In 1923 he founded together with Elisabeth Bergner and Alexander Granach the Schauspieltheater in order to be more independent from the big theaters. Finally it was only a question of time till the film business came to knock at his door.
He stood up for so-called unwanted people of the Third Reich who he contracted for the Schillertheater as director of it.
At the age of 20 he closed a contract with the Hoftheater in Neustrelitz, with 21 he was called up into World War I where he sustained a serious injury. In 1917 he was dismissed on the basis of war unfitness. Further brief successive engagements followed till the great Max Reinhardt engaged him to Berlin.
After his return to Germany he got married with actress Berta Drews in 1933. Their son Götz George became also an expressive player who is as successful in Germany as his father was.
In the 2nd part of the 20s he became a regular leading actor and his interests into the film business grew because of the possibility to interpret roles in movies in another way than on stage.
The once portly Heinrich George lost a lot of weight. He purportedly had to undergo an appendectomy - due to spoilt food, but died 2 days later. Other sources feel the real cause of death was brought on by famina oedema (starvation), and the operations was simply an excuse.
George is noted for having spooked the young Bertolt Brecht in his first directing job, a production of Arnolt Bronnen's Parricide (1922), when he refused to continue working with the director.
He was the son of a former naval officer.
George himself has once described his acting technique as "controlled trance". His best screen moments occurred in movies in which he could act in long unbroken scenes uninterrupted by reaction shots. Examples include his plea in "Affäre Dreyfus" ("The Dreyfus Case") and the dance sequence in "Der Postmeister".
At the age of 19 he was engaged in Kolberg, half a year later he went to a circus, after another three months he acted at the Stadttheater of Bromberg.
The cooperation in propaganda movies and his public appearances for the NS regime had momentous consequences after the war.
The Russian intelligence NKWD imprisoned Heinrich George and he had been interned in Hohenschönhausen, later in Sachsenhausen where he was confronted with harassments by Russian officers.

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