Monday, December 04, 2017

Born Today in 1933: German Movie Star Horst Buchholz

Horst Buchholz was born today, December 4, in 1933. He was a German actor, best known in English-speaking countries for his roles in The Magnificent Seven, in which he played Chico, Fanny, and the Billy Wilder comedy One, Two, Three. Worldwide, from 1951 to 2002, he appeared in more than 60 feature films. During his youth he was sometimes called "the German James Dean."

Horst Buchholz was born in Berlin. He never knew his biological father, but took the surname of his stepfather Hugo Buchholz, a shoemaker, whom his mother married in 1938.  During World War II he was evacuated to Silesia and at the end of the war found himself in a foster home in Czechoslovakia. 

He returned to Berlin as soon as he could. He barely finished his schooling before seeking theater work, first appearing on stage in 1949. He soon left his childhood home in East Berlin to work in West Berlin. He established himself in the theater, notably the Schiller Theater, and also on radio.

Able to speak several languages, Buchholz expanded into film work by doing foreign-language voice dubbing.  Full-fledged stardom resulted from Confessions of Felix Krull (1957).

In 1958 Buchholz married French actress Myriam Bru. They had two children.

Buchholz began appearing in English-language films in 1959, when he co-starred in the British production Tiger Bay with Hayley Mills. He followed that with The Magnificent Seven (1960), the romantic drama Fanny (1961) with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier, and the Berlin-set comedy One, Two, Three (1961). 

He proved to be popular with American audiences, but several missed opportunities thwarted the upward trajectory of his career and it began to stall. Filming schedule conflicts prevented him from accepting the offered roles of Tony in West Side Story (1961) and Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Usually reticent about his private life, in a 2000 interview in the German magazine Bunte Buchholz publicly came out, saying "Yes, I also love men. Ultimately, I'm bisexual. ... I have always lived my life the way I wanted." He explained that he and his wife of nearly 42 years had a stable and enduring arrangement, with her life centered in Paris and his in Berlin, the city that he loved. 

Buchholz died unexpectedly at the age of 69 on 
March 3, 2003, in the Berlin Charit√© from pneumonia that developed after an operation for a hip fracture. 


Raybeard said...

I don't think that after the 1960s I'd heard about him and his 'career', but I do know that in that particular decade he was one to make the ladies 'swoon' - and, no doubt, not only the ladies.

Unknown said...

In La vita è bella (1997), he spoke elegant italian for his part as the nazi doctor.