Gert Fröbe Biography
Karl Gerhart “Gert” Fröbe, a German actor, was born in Oberplanitz, a town that is now part of Zwickau, on February 25, 1913. Fröbe initially had a passion for playing the violin, but he soon abandoned it in favor of Kabarett and theatre work.
In September 1944, the German Army drafted Fröbe when theatres in Germany were shut down, and he served until the end of the war. After the war, Fröbe’s party membership became known, and Israel banned his films until Mario Blumenau, a Jewish survivor, revealed that Gert Fröbe had hid him and mother from the Nazis, and ultimately saving their lives.
Gert Fröbe became a prominent actor in German films and gained fame for his role in the first German film made after the Second World War, Berliner Ballade (The Ballad of Berlin, 1948). His character’s name, ‘Otto Normalverbraucher’ (meaning ‘Average Joe’ in English), became the German term equivalent to the English phrase.
In 1958, Fröbe was cast as the villain in the Swiss-West German-Spanish film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (It Happened in Broad Daylight), with the original screenplay written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Gert Fröbe’s portrayal of a serial killer of children caught the attention of the producers of the James Bond movie Goldfinger.
Fröbe made his first uncredited English language role in the film Decision Before Dawn in 1951. His first credited English film was They Were So Young in 1954. Although he had other small roles, Fröbe rose to global fame after being cast to play Bond villain, the cunning Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger (1964).
This led to more English language films such as Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), Is Paris Burning? (1966), Triple Cross (1966), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and Monte Carlo or Bust (1969). Fröbe’s last English language role was in the 1979 film Bloodline.
Gert Fröbe was married to Karin Fröbe until he passed away from a heart attack at the age of 75 in Munich in September 1988. He was laid to rest at the Waldfriedhof cemetery in Icking.