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Gustaf Gründgens

Gustaf Gründgens in Fritz Lang's film M (1931)
Born December 22, 1899(1899-12-22)
Düsseldorf, German Empire
Died October 7, 1963 (aged 63)
Manila, Philippines
Years active 1920 – 1963
Spouse(s) Erika Mann (1926 – 1929)
Marianne Hoppe (1936 – 1946)

Gustaf Gründgens (December 22, 1899 – October 7, 1963) was one of Germany's most famous actors of the 20th century, leading theatres in Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Hamburg. His career continued undisturbed through the years of the Nazi regime; the extent to which this can be considered as deliberate collaboration with the Nazis was hotly disputed (see below).

His single most famous role was that of Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust in 1956/57, which is still considered by many to have been the best interpretation of the role ever given.



Born in Düsseldorf, Gründgens was also involved in one of the most famous literary cases in 20th century Germany, as the subject of a novel entitled Mephisto by Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann. The novel, a thinly veiled account of Gründgens' life, portrayed its main character as having shady connections with the Nazi regime. A lawsuit ensued, as well as a controversy about libel and the freedom of fiction. Their relation was a complicated one, since Gründgens was at one point married to Erika Mann, Klaus' sister, and the three had together worked in the theater. Both had sexual relationships with men — Klaus Mann was gay and Gründgens bisexual — but this topic was avoided in the novel.

Gründgens's adopted son was Peter Gorski, who directed Faust in 1960 and later sued the publisher of Mephisto on his father's behalf. Peter Gorski was Gründgens' lover, who was adopted for legacy purposes. (See In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain by Andrea Weiss)

From 1936 till 1946, Gründgens was married to the famous German actress Marianne Hoppe.

On October 7, 1963, he died in Manila of an internal hemorrhage, though it is claimed that he in fact committed suicide by an overdose of sleeping pills. (See Weiss cited above)



  • Eine Stadt steht Kopf (also actor, 1932)
  • Die Finanzen des Großherzogs (1933)
  • Kapriolen (also actor, 1937)
  • Der Schritt vom Wege (1938)
  • Zwei Welten (1939)
  • Friedemann Bach (also actor, 1940)
  • Faust (also actor)


Gustav Gründgens as "Hamlet"
  • Ich glaub' nie mehr an eine Frau (1929)
  • Va Banque (1930)
  • Hokuspokus (1930)
  • Danton (1930)
  • Brand in der Oper (1930)
  • Yorck (1931)
  • M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (1931)
  • Luise, Königin von Preußen (1931)
  • Die Gräfin von Monte Christo (1931)
  • Der Raub der Mona Lisa (1931)
  • Teilnehmer antwortet nicht (1932)
  • Liebelei (1932)
  • Der Tunnel (1933)
  • Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez (1933)
  • So endete eine Liebe (1934)
  • Schwarzer Jäger Johanna (1934)
  • Das Erbe in Pretoria (1934)
  • Pygmalion (1935)
  • Das Mädchen Johanna (1935)
  • Eine Frau ohne Bedeutung (1936)
  • Tanz auf dem Vulkan (1938)
  • Ohm Krüger (1941)
  • Faust (1955/1957)
  • Faust (1960)
  • Das Glas Wasser (1960)

See also

External links

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