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Björn Andrésen

Reproduction of cover page of Germaine Greer's book "The Beautiful Boy"
Born Björn Johan Andrésen
January 26, 1955 (1955-01-26) (age 54)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation actor, musician

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 in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella Death in Venice.

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 Lawrence J. 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.[1] 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 permission.[2]Although 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 plans.

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[3]. These include Pelikaanimies (2004)[4], 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.

Personal Life

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.[5][6]

He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Stockholm.

Notes

  1. ^ "'I'm not Germaine's toy,' says cover boy". Fairfax Digital. 2003-10-18. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/17/1066364482598.html?from=storyrhs. Retrieved 2008-12-25. "Andresen said that when he was 16, Visconti would take him to gay clubs where he was made uncomfortable by grown men staring at him: 'They looked at me uncompromisingly as if I was a nice meaty dish.'"  
  2. ^ Seaton, Matt (2003-10-16). "'I feel used'". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/gender/story/0,11812,1063884,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-25. "Sometimes he still sees his image as Tadzio in a poster or in a cinema flyer; it used to cause him irritation, but not any more. 'My career is one of the few that started at the absolute top and then worked its way down,' he says. 'That was lonely.'"  
  3. ^ Filmography
  4. ^ Andrésen may be seen as he is today at the website for Pelikaananimies in which he played a pianist
  5. ^ The Sven Erics, now without Andresen
  6. ^ Andrésen plays keyboard in his days with the Sevn Erics

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Björn Johan Andrésen (born 1955-01-26) is a Swedish actor and musician.

Sourced

  • I was just sixteen and Visconti and the team took me to a gay nightclub. Almost all the crew were gay. The waiters at the club made me feel very uncomfortable. They looked at me uncompromisingly as if I was a nice meaty dish. I knew I couldn't react. It would have been social suicide. But it was the first of many such encounters.
  • My career is one of the few that started at the absolute top and then worked its way down. That was lonely.
    • Quoted in Matt Seaton, "I feel used," The Guardian (2003-10-16)

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