In Unterm Birnbaum © DEFA-Stiftung, Dieter Lück
Angelica Domröse was born in Berlin on April 4, 1941. At 16, she applied to the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg; although she was too young and was rejected, she continued dreaming of becoming an actress. She was selected from a pool of 1500 young girls who auditioned for the role of Siegi, a lively young woman worker in Slatan Dudow’s 1959 comedy, Verwirrung der Liebe. Her fresh and natural performance made her a favorite with audiences and, while still working on the film, she was admitted into the academy during the school year, graduating in 1961.
More important roles in cinema and TV movies followed her success in Dudow’s film. She gave a stellar performance, for example, in Wolfgang Luderer’s television adaptation of Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest. The film that really made Domröse a star, however, was Heiner Carow’s Die Legende von Paul und Paula, the box office hit and cult classic in which she played Paula, a single mother of two who falls in love with a married man. Twenty years later, Carow invited Domröse to play the female lead in his film Verfehlung, an East-West German love story set before the fall of the Berlin Wall; here, she shared the screen with Gottfried John, the well-known West German actor who played in many Rainer Werner Fassbinder films.
Parallel to her work in film, Domröse was also an active theater actor. In 1961, she joined the prestigious Berliner Ensemble (BE) at the invitation of Helene Weigel. Five years later, because she was mainly getting supporting roles, she left the BE for the Volksbühne in Berlin. Here she played leading roles in productions directed by Bruno Besson, Manfred Karge and Matthias Langhoff. She remained a member of the Volksbühne ensemble until 1979.
In 1976, Angelica Domröse joined protests against the forced expatriation of dissident East German singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann. This oppositional stance made it increasingly difficult for her to get parts, and many productions in which she appeared were cancelled or boycotted. She and her husband, actor Hilmar Thate, eventually left the GDR in 1980.
After initial difficulties in West Germany, Domröse was able to continue her career as an actress. She worked at theaters in Hamburg, West Berlin, Bochum and Vienna, with well-known theater directors including Peter Zadek, George Tabori and Michael Haneke. Haneke also cast her for his 1986 television film, Fraulein: Ein deutsches Melodram, a story about a German woman and a former French POW in 1950s West Germany.
Domröse continued to perform on stage and in films after German unification in 1990. In the late 1990s, she played an unconventional police commissioner in the popular TV series, Polizeiruf 110. Her last film role was in Bernd Böhlich’s Bis zum Horizont, dann links!, in which she plays an older woman in a retirement home who plans an adventure, alongside the famous German actor Otto Sander.
With over 80 film credits to her name, in 2003 Domröse published an autobiography Ich fang mich selber ein [I Catch Myself], in which she discusses her life as an actress in different political systems. She has worked as a theater director and taught at the Ernst Busch Schauspielschule and Universität der Künste in Berlin.
In 2008, Angelica Domröse was honored with the DEFA Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2010, she received a Star on the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin.
Bis zum Horizont, dann links! (Fly Away)
|2003||Das Tal der Ahnungslosen (The Valley of the Innocent, TV)|
|1997||Kalte Küsse (Cold Kisses, TV)|
|1994-97||Polizeiruf 110 (Police Call 110, TV series)|
|1994||Die letzte Entscheidung (The Last Decision, TV)|
|1992||Verfehlung (The Mistake)|
|1991||Hurenglück (Whore’s Luck, TV)|
|1990||The Beatles Forever (TV)|
|1989||Die Skorpianfrau (The Scorpian Woman)|
|1986||Fraulein: Ein deutsches Melodram (Fraulein: A German Melodrama, TV)|
|1983||Hanna von acht bis acht (Hanna from 8 to 8, TV)|
Die zweite Haut (The Second Skin, TV)
|1978||Bis dass der Tod euch scheidet (Until Death Do Us Part)|
|1977||Fleur Lafontaine (TV)|
|1976||Daniel Druskat (TV mini-series)|
|1973||Unterm Birnbaum (Under the Pear Tree)|
|1972||Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula)|
|1968||Effi Briest (TV)|
|1968||Wege übers Land (Paths through the Countryside, TV mini-series)|
Der Lord vom Alexanderplatz (The Lord of Alexanderplatz)
Emilia Galotti (TV)
|1964||Chronik eines Mordes (Chronicle of a Murder)|
|1963||Julia lebt (Julia Is Alive)|
Sonntagsfahrer (Sunday Drivers)
|1960||Die Liebe und der Co-Pilot (Love and the Co-Pilot)|
Papas neue Freundin (Dad’s New Girlfriend, TV)
Verwirrung der Liebe (Love’s Confusion)