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Reproduction of cover page of Germaine
Greer's book "The Beautiful Boy"
||Björn Johan Andrésen
January 26, 1955
Björn Johan Andrésen (born 26 January 1955, in
Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish actor and
musician. He is best known for playing the fourteen-year-old Tadzio
Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella
Andrésen had only appeared in one film, En kärlekshistoria (1970) at the time
he was cast in Death in Venice, which gained him
international recognition. While the film performed relatively
poorly at the box office, Andrésen was noted for his performance as
Tadzio, the beautiful young Polish boy with whom the film's older
protagonist Gustav von Aschenbach becomes obsessed. Film historian
Quirk commented in his study The Great Romantic Films
(1974) that some shots of Andrésen "could be extracted from the
frame and hung on the walls of the Louvre or the Vatican".
Rumors circulated in America at the time of the film's release
as to whether or not Andrésen was homosexual (as the role demanded that he
appear to exchange romantic glances with the protagonist, and on
another occasion, be kissed and caressed by another teenage boy).
Andrésen emphatically denied these, and later recounted his
discomfort at being forced by director Luchino Visconti during
filming to visit a gay bar, where he attracted the attention of a
number of older men.
However, it is reported that in a 1971 interview with Du Und Ich
magazine, he said he had had an affair with an older man. Eager to
dispel the rumors regarding his sexuality and to shed his "pretty
boy" image, Andrésen thereafter avoided homosexual roles and parts
which he felt would play off of his good looks, and was angry when
feminist writer Germaine Greer
used a photograph of him on the cover of her book The Beautiful
Boy (2003) without first obtaining his personal
Greer did consult with photographer David Bailey (who owned the
copyright for the image) before publishing the book, Andrésen
maintained that it is common practice when a party uses an image of
a person which has been copyrighted by a different individual to
inform the individual and that he would not have given his consent
for Greer to use his picture if she had informed him of her
After the release of Death in Venice, Andrésen spent an
extended period of time in Japan, where he appeared in a number of
television commercials and also recorded two pop songs. It is said
that his appearance as Tadzio in the film inspired many Japanese anime artists (known for their
depictions of young,
effeminate men), especially Keiko Takemiya.
Andrésen has also appeared in several other films. These
include Pelikaanimies (2004),
Kojan (1992) and Smugglarkungen (1985).
In 1976, he was briefly accused of involvement in the stabbing
death of actor Sal
Mineo, who some sources claimed had been a lover of Andrésen's.
Andrésen denied ever having known Mineo at all and stated that he
was not even in the United States at the time of the murder. He was
not charged in connection with Mineo's death.
In addition to being an actor, Andrésen is also a professional
musician, and until recently performed and toured regularly with
the Sven Erics dance band.
He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Stockholm.