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Ludwig Stössel Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (22)

Overview (2)

Born in Léka, Hungary, Austria-Hungary [now Lockenhaus, Burgenland, Austria]
Died in Hollywood, California, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Austria in 1883, Ludwig Stossel was an established theater presence (from age 17) in both his homeland and in Germany for decades, performing at one time or another for both Max Reinhardt and Otto Preminger. He made a handful of German silents beginning in 1926 and had moved with ease into sound pictures.

The Nazi invasion of Austria forced Stossel to emigrate to the United Kingdom in 1938. He rekindled his film career there but moved to America within a couple years. Many German and Austrian actors left their countries because of the Nazi takeover and emigrated to the US, winding up in Hollywood where they formed a sort of "colony", often being used in war-themed dramas to play either refugees or Nazi officers and officials. Stossel found a plethora of work that made use of his thick accent and benevolent countenance, his balding characters often accompanied by a monocle and handlebar mustache. He provided secondary but memorable foreign characters in such WWII classics as Casablanca (1942), Kings Row (1942), and the Lou Gehrig biopic The Pride of the Yankees (1942) as Gehrig's (Gary Cooper) father.

Firmly established in Hollywood, the amiable Stossel continued playing sweet and wise old souls throughout the remainder of his career. Particularly outstanding was his role as Albert Einstein in The Beginning or the End (1947). He also worked on TV in the 1950s and is perhaps best remembered for his long series of commercials for Italian Swiss Colony wine in which he played "that little old winemaker, me!" in Swiss costume. Married to actress Eleanore Stossel, he died in 1983 at age 89 in Beverly Hills, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Eleanore Birn (performer) (1919 - 29 January 1973) ( his death)

Trivia (22)

In the 1960s, Italian Swiss Colony wine producers chose him to be their advertising spokesman. Dressed in an Alpine hat and lederhosen, his motto was that he was "That Little Old Winemaker, Me!" in a series of commercials that spanned a decade. The irony was that Stossel in real life was a longtime connoisseur of fine wines, and would normally never have had anything to do with a low-priced, mass-produced wine such as Italian Swiss Colony.
As the winemaker in the Italian Swiss Colony commercials, his "little old winemaker...me!" line was actually dubbed by none other than Jim Backus.
Stössel began performing on the stage in Austria and Germany when he was only 17.
To his well-known movies of the 40's belong "Four Sons" (1940), "Jennie" (1940), "Woman of the Year" (1942) and the classic "Casablanca" (1942) - in which he impersonated the German emigrant Mr. Leuchtag.
He played Pichler in the Carl Boese's comedy Heimkehr ins Glück (Homecoming to Happiness). This would be his last movie in Germany.
Stössel died on January 29, 1973 in Beverly Hills after a fall just 14 days short of his 90th birthday. He was cremated at Groman Mortuary in Hollywood Forever, with the ashes sent to Vienna, Austria.
In 1944, he appeared in the Boris Karloff horror movie The Climax. Later in 1944, Stössel teamed up with his movie wife from Pride of the Yankees, Elsa Janssen, to play Mr. and Mrs. Steelman, a German couple loyal to America who drive their traitorous pro-Nazi son, played by George Sanders (who is actually working undercover for the U.S. government), out of their house in the spy drama They Came to Blow Up America. In 1945, they teamed up again to play Mr. and Mrs. Otto in the "B" crime drama Dillinger.
The name Ludwig Stössel is no longer a concept for most people in Germany, but in the USA he is still well-known. Beside his role in "Casablanca" he also became famous with a serial of promotional films for the wine growing estate Gallo for which he impersonated the figure "Little Old Winemaker" for one decade.
From 1953 to 1963, Stössel appeared as a guest in a number of television shows, including Cavalcade of America, My Three Sons, The Donna Reed Show, and The New Phil Silvers Show (where he parodied his Gallo wine television commercials).
His roles became more extensive with the rise of the sound film and he took part in some important productions. To his well-known movies of those years belong "Skandal um Eva" (1930), Der Rebell" (1932), "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse" (1933) and "Eine Nacht in Venedig" (1934).
He was driven out from Germany by the National Socialists because of his Jewish origin. He went to Austria and appeared in few movies but his main activity was at the theater. He was engaged at the Raimundtheater and at the Theater in der Josefstadt.
He appeared in Dead Man's Shoes and another British film production before heading to Hollywood in 1939.
After Hitler's forces took over Austria in the Anschluß of 1938, Stössel was imprisoned several times before he was able to escape Vienna and get to Paris. He and his wife, Lore Birn, eventually reached London. He appeared in Dead Man's Shoes and another British film production before heading to Hollywood in 1939.
Although the war was over in Europe long ago he didn't return to Germany. He stood in the USA which became his second home.
He began his career at the theater where he made his first experiences at Josef Jarno.
He became a successful character actor and played for the most important stages of Germany, among other at Max Reinhardt in Berlin, at the Barnowsky-Bühne and at the German Künstlertheater. Moreover he managed the Thalia-Theater in Breslau together with Paul Barnay.
The actor Ludwig Stössel belongs to the interesting support actors of the German film who was able to launch a second career in the USA.
Stössel also performed on television. In 1955, he played Ludwig, a Carl the waiter clone, in the television version of Casablanca.
To his last cinematical work belong "G.I. Blues" (1960) with Elvis Presley and an episode of the TV serial "The New Phil Silvers Show: The Little Old Gluemaker, Me!" (1963).
When the National Socialism arrived in Austria in 1938 he emigrated together with his wife via Paris and London to Hollywood. There he was able to continue his film career as a support actor in many American movies.
Ludwgt Stössel came relative late to the film. His first movie came into being in 1926 with the title "In der Heimat, da gibt's ein Wiedersehn!" (1926).
As it was usual in the USA in those days the victims of the National Socialists had to play their tormentors. Ludwig Stössel also acted in some propaganda movies against Hitler like "The Strange Death of Adolf Hitler" (1943) and "Hitler's Madman" (1943). But Ludwig Stössel didn't let nail him down to such movies and he took part in many other genres.

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