Drama in life and in film: “Tatort” actor Günter Lamprecht is dead

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Drama in life and in the movies
“Tatort” actor Günter Lamprecht is dead

Günter Lamprecht became famous for Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” and as a “crime scene” commissioner. He was also seen in “Babylon Berlin”. He often played voluminous, difficult roles and broken characters. But his private life was also full of drama and violence. He has since passed away at the age of 92.

He spent the nights with Berlin police officers, sat in shabby bars, baked sandwiches early in the morning for three weeks: when Günter Lamprecht got ready for a new role, he threw himself into the environment. As Franz Biberkopf in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” or as the edgy “Tatort” commissioner Franz Markowitz, he made television history. However, he never became a celebrated star – perhaps his characters were too bulky for that. That didn’t bother him: Lamprecht just wanted to do good work.

Lamprecht died on Tuesday, October 4 at the age of 92, his agent has now confirmed. He leaves behind his wife Claudia Amm and a daughter.

As a Hitler Youth in World War II


Lamprecht 1977 in “Do you know the Lindemanns?” He played a total of more than 150 film and television roles.

(Photo: IMAGO/United Archives)

In fact, he should have turned into a rotten existence as well. His father, a Berlin taxi driver, was a Nazi by conviction. He hasn’t gone to school for over four years. As a Hitler Youth he took part in the “Last Battle” of Berlin. After the war, he belonged to a gang of young thieves: “We stole like ravens.” This was followed by training as an orthopedic technician. And then the miracle happened: one evening a drunken friend said to him: “Günter, you must become an actor!” The completely unread young man then approaches the drama school – and is accepted.

He was always aware of his humble origins: “I come from the proletariat, I make no secret of it,” he once said. “I understand the problems these people have, so maybe I can do these characters better.” Moreover, his life was “accompanied by violence,” as he put it. As a 15-year-old he was shot in the last days of the war, not far from the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.

Barely escaped death

And in 1999, he narrowly escaped death when, by sheer coincidence, he became one of the victims of a 16-year-old gunman. The memory of it never faded: the steel-blue autumn sky in Bad Reichenhall, he got out, the shots. His girlfriend in a pool of blood. He himself was shot in both arms. They lie there for an hour before a paramedic muster the courage to step in the firing line and take them away. Ten years later, he still dreamed of it and woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.


Lamprecht became known to television audiences in the 1990s for his role as Berlin “Tatort” inspector Franz Markowitz.

(Photo: photo alliance / dpa)

Lamprecht had his first leading role in a film in 1976 in “The Baker’s Bread” and won the Lubitsch Prize for it. More than 150 film and television roles followed, accompanied by numerous awards. Lamprecht was a recipient of the Order of Merit from the City of Berlin and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Because that’s where the original Berliner got stuck somewhere in the middle of his life.

The former mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, wasn’t the only one who kept asking him why he was staying in Rösberg rather than returning to his big hometown. Lamprecht’s reasoning went something like this: Rösberg belongs to Bornheim. Bornheim is part of the Rhein-Sieg district. And the Rhein-Sieg district is part of the Cologne river basin, where the WDR is located, formerly one of the main employers. Moreover, Cologne is not that far from the Ruhr area. “And the Ruhr is my second home. Except for Berlin, of course.”

Big love for Oberhausen


Günther Lamprecht and his wife Claudia Amm in 2016.

(Photo: photo alliance / dpa)

Günter Lamprecht was one of the relatively few people whose eyes light up when they talk about Oberhausen. ‘I swear by it, at Oberhausen. It has grown on me.’ He lived there for a long time, in the late 50s and 60s, as a theater actor. Oberhausen was then still a real working class town. He liked that.

In the last 20 years of his life, he made himself rare. In the series “Babylon Berlin” Lamprecht could be seen again as Reich President Hindenburg. There were other offers, but in his view they were not the right ones. Sometimes he had to play the good-natured grandpa, then the story was just “junk”. When he was nearing his 90s, a young man once asked him what his occupation was. ‘Actor? For real? Have you ever had a part?’ Only a man who is completely at peace with himself can relate such an incident with such serenity as he did.

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