Steppat, Ilse


Ilse Steppat was born in Wuppertal on November 11, 1917. In 1933, she started her theater career at the Städtisches Theater in Theydt. Then, in 1937, she became a member of the theater ensemble of the Volksbühne Berlin, where Joachim Gottschalk had been performing as a guest actor since the spring. The two actors played opposite each other in the leading roles in Goethe’s Clavigo (premiere: March 29, 1938).


Ten years later Steppat’s film debut was as Elisabeth in Kurt Maetzig’s DEFA film, Ehe im Schatten—a role based on the story of Gottschalk and his wife. She appeared in only two more films before leaving the DEFA Studio: Die Brücke and Die blauen Schwerter. In the 1950s, Steppat appeared in many award-winning films, including: Robert Siodmak’s Die Ratten, which won at the Berlin International Film Festival; Kurt Hoffmann’s Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull, honored at the Golden Globes; and Ósmy dzien tygodnia, a film by Aleksander Ford nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.


After playing in crime movies based on the work of author Edgar Wallace (Die Gruft mit dem Rätselschloss, Der unheimliche Mönch), Ilse Steppat was cast as Irma Bunt in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, her only English language role. Unfortunately, she was unable to capitalize on her newly acquired fame outside of Germany, as she died on December 22, 1969, only a few days after the movie’s international premiere.




1969 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
1968 Der Tod im roten Jaguar (Death in the Red Jaguar)
1967 Die blaue Hand (Creature with the Blue Hand)
1966 À belles dents (Living It Up)
1965 Der unheimliche Mönch (The Sinister Monk)
1965 Niemandsland (No Man’s Land, TV)
1964 Die Gruft mit dem Rätselschloss  (The Curse of the Hidden Vault)
1963 Der Unsichtbare (The Invisible Terror)
1960 Im Namen einer Mutter (A Mother’s Revenge)
1960 Pension Schöller (Guesthouse Schöller)
1958 Ósmy dzien tygodnia (The Eighth Day of the Week)
1958 Madeleine Tel. 13 62 11 (Naked in the Night)
1957 Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull (Confessions of Felix Krull)
1955 Die Ratten (The Rats)
1955 Der dunkle Stern (The Dark Star)
1955 Oberarzt Dr. Solm (Doctor Solm)
1954 Das Phantom des grossen Zeltes (The Phantom of the Great Tent)
1954 Rittmeister Wronski (Cavalry Captain Wronski)
1951 Hanna Amon
1951 Die Schuld des Dr. Homma (Dr. Homma’s Guilt)
1949 Die blauen Schwerter (The Blue Swords)
1949 Die Brücke (The Bridge)
1947 Ehe im Schatten (Marriage in the Shadows)


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