He was a heavyweight actor: The character actor Volker Spengler, made famous by director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, died at the age of 80.
The German actor Volker Spengler, who became famous with his leading role in the Fassbinder film “In a year with 13 moons”, is dead. He died on Saturday morning at the age of 80 in Berlin, as the dpa news agency learned from his close circle of friends. Spengler would have turned 81 on February 16.
For director Christoph Schlingensief, who died in 2010, Spengler was part of the ensemble in several works, including films such as “The German Chainsaw Massacre”, “100 Years of Adolf Hitler – The Last Hour in the Bunker” and “The 120 Days of Bottrop”, as well as theater performances at the Berlin Volksbühne like “Rosebud”.
Born in Bremen, Spengler had become famous with his role as transsexual Elvira Weishaupt in the film “In a year with 13 moons” by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982). In the 1978 drama in which Erwin underwent surgery on Elvira and then died, Spengler was seen alongside colleagues such as Ingrid Caven, Elisabeth Trissenaar and Eva Mattes.
Spengler also appeared in Fassbinder films such as “Satansbraten”, “The Longing of Veronika Voss”, “Chinese Roulette”, “The Third Generation”, “The Marriage of Maria Braun” and the TV mini-series “Berlin Alexanderplatz”.
In 1996, in the novel adaptation “The Unhold” by Volker Schlöndorff, he was terrifyingly cast alongside Gottfried John and John Malkovich as Nazi politician Hermann Göring.
Decades of stage careers
In his decades of stage career, Spengler worked with many theater directors such as Peter Palitzsch, Frank Castorf and René Pollesch. In Heiner Müller’s last production, the Brecht play “The Relentless Rise of Arturo Ui”, the heavyweight Spengler was among others on the stage of the Berlin ensemble alongside Martin Wuttke.
Spengler is said to have sailed as a 14-year-old in the early 1950s and later did an apprenticeship as a businessman before studying drama in Salzburg and at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. His early career brought him together with celebrities such as the comedian Heinz Erhardt and the director Fritz Kortner.
In the mid-1970s he joined the Fassbinder clan with actors such as Margit Carstensen, Irm Hermann, Brigitte Mira and Kurt Raab.
“Die Welt” wrote Spengler’s 70th birthday eleven years ago: “On stage he was erratically unique, virtuoso in his dry (apparent) non-acting. In life, he hid his own vulnerability behind a provocative way that differs a lot from the psychological Had copied the art of war from Fassbinder. “
(APA / dpa)