10 May, 2019

Joachim Fuchsberger


Joachim "Blacky" Fuchsberger was a German actor and television host, best known to a wide German-speaking audience as one of the recurring actors in various Edgar Wallace movies. In the English-speaking world, he was sometimes credited as Akim Berg or Berger.

Fuchsberger was born in Zuffenhausen, today a district of Stuttgart, and was a member of the obligatory Hitler Youth. During World War II, at the age of 16, he was trained as a Fallschirmjäger, combat instructor and sent to the Eastern Front where he was wounded. He was captured in a hospital in Stralsund by the Red Army and came into Soviet captivity and later in American and British captivity. Because of this turbulent time of his youth on the Eastern front, he could never make a school diploma. In 1946, he worked as a coal miner for the British in Recklinghausen. His nickname Blacky hails from that time.

After his release, he worked as an engineer for typesetting and printing machines in the family business and later in a publishing house in Düsseldorf. In 1949, he was advertising manager of the German Building Exhibition in Nuremberg. From 1950 to 1952, he was spokesman at the radio station in Munich and newsreel spokesman. In 1951, he married the pop singer Gitta Lind, from whom he divorced after two years. In 1954 he married the radio technician and actress Gundula Korte (born 24 March 1930), with whom he has a son. In the same year he had his breakthrough playing "Gunner Asch" in the three-part war film 08/15 film series, based on the novel by Hans Hellmut Kirst.

After several war films, he starred in the 1959 film Der Frosch mit der Maske (The Frog with the Mask) playing amateur detective Richard Gordon. More than 3.2 million visitors saw the movie in the cinema. The surprising success laid the foundation for many other film adaptations of novels by Edgar Wallace.

After this success, he played the detective in another 12 Edgar Wallace films: 1960 – Chief Inspector Long in Die Bande des Schreckens (The Gang of Horror); 1961 – Inspector Larry Holt in The Dead Eyes of London; 1961 – Insurance Agent Jack Tarling in The Devil's Daffodil; 1961 – Inspector Mike Dorn in The Strange Countess; 1962 – Inspector Wade in The Inn on the River; 1963 – Clifford Lynne in Der Fluch der gelben Schlange [de] (The Curse of the Yellow Snake); 1963 – Estate manager Dick Alford in The Black Abbot; 1964 – Investigator Johnny Gray in Zimmer 13 [de] (Room 13); 1964 – Inspector Higgins in Der Hexer (The Warlock); 1967 – Inspector Higgins in Der Mönch mit der Peitsche [de] (The Monk with the Whip); 1968 – Inspector Higgins in Im Banne des Unheimlichen (Under the Spell of the Sinister); 1972 – Inspector Barth in What Have You Done to Solange?.

Fuchsberger was the stadium announcer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. During the closing ceremony, it was suspected that a hijacked passenger aircraft was on its way to the stadium. Fuchsberger, fearing a panic, decided against evacuation. This decision was vindicated when the original suspicion turned out to have been false.

In the late 1960s, Fuchsberger co-founded a real estate company that went bankrupt in a short time. At 42, he had lost his entire fortune, had to sell his villa and sat on a mountain of debt. With the help of his wife, Gundula, good friends and tireless work, he managed to discharge the debt and to start a new existence.

In 1978, he was bitten by a chimpanzee during a TV show and fell seriously ill with hepatitis B. He spent 4 months at the quarantine station and suffered through a depression but recovered. He withdrew from film and television work in the late 1970s and concentrated on his stage career.

Fuchsberger lived in Grünwald near Munich and in Sandy Bay, Hobart, Tasmania. He held Australian citizenship together with his German one. He died of organ failure at his German home in Grünwald on 11 September 2014.

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