Böwe, Kurt


Kurt Böwe was born in Reetz, Germany, on April 28, 1928. He studied German language, literature and theater at Humboldt University in Berlin from 1950 to 1954, where he then worked as a theater scholar for more than six years. Parallel to this, he participated in the student theater and discovered his passion for acting.


A self-taught actor, Böwe started his career in 1961. After his first engagement at Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theater, he performed on many important and well-known East German stages. After an engagement at the theater in Halle, he returned to Berlin and was with the Deutsches Theater ensemble from 1973 to 1997, where he worked with directors Alexander Lang and Thomas Langhoff. One of his most unforgettable and impressive roles was as the robust squire Boll, in Ernst Barlach’s play Der blaue Boll (The Blue Boll, 1985, dir. Rolf Winkelgrund). Because of his appearance, voice and stage presence, many critics saw Böwe in the tradition of great German actors such as Emil Jannings, Heinrich George and Willy A. Kleinau.


Also one of East Germany’s most popular actors in film and television productions, Böwe first appeared in supporting roles, for example in Konrad Wolf’s Ich war neunzehn. The role of the sculptor Kemmel in Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz was his breakthrough film role and brought him international attention. Other important roles followed: Jadup, the mayor of a little town who is conflicted about his early postwar memories, in Rainer Simon’s banned film Jadup und Boel; Professor Menzel in Roland Gräf’s Märkische Forschungen; and a discouraged theater manager in Stilles Land, Andreas Dresen’s film debut, set in the days before and after the opening of the Wall in 1989. Böwe also worked with director Ulrich Weiss on two of his successful children’s films—as the sympathetic carter Kassbaum, who helps the village children restore an old boat in Tambari, and as the poor British settler John Ruster in Blauvogel, a story set among Native Americans.


From 1994 to 2000, Böwe became the darling of TV viewers as Commissioner Groth, in the crime series Polizeiruf 110. He was nominated for the Adolf Grimme Award in 1997 and 1999 for his performance in this series. Böwe also lent his distinctive voice to over 150 radio dramas and was involved in many audiobook and film dubbing projects. He is also remembered for his moving and sensitive readings of works by the German author Theodor Fontane.


Kurt Böwe died, after a long illness, in Berlin on June 14, 2000. In his obituary, theater director Thomas Langhoff wrote: “He possessed a blend of childlike naivité and high intellect.”





Bibliography & More:

Schütt, Hans-Dieter. Kurt Böwe. Der lange kurze Atem. Berlin: Das Neue, 1995.



Polizeiruf 110 (Police Call 110, TV series)


Stilles Land (Silent Country)

1991 Die Spur des Bernsteinzimmers (The Mystery of the Amber Room)
1990 Pause für Wanzka (Break for Vantska, TV)
1989 Späte Ankunft (Late Arrival, TV mini-series)
1988 Verflixtes Mißgeschick! (Darn Misfortune!)


Einzug ins Paradies (Enter Paradise, TV series)

1985 Der Junge mit dem großen schwarzen Hund (The Boy with the Big Black Dog)
1984 Gritta von Rattenzuhausbeiuns (Gritta of Rat's Castle, narrator)
1983 Automärchen (Motoring Tales)
1983 Die vertauschte Königin (The Swapped Queen)


Märkische Forschungen (Exploring the Mark Brandenburg)


Jadup und Boel (Jadup and Boel)

1980 Pugowitza (Pugovitsa)


Levins Mühle (Levin’s Mill)


Eine Anzeige in der Zeitung (The Ad in the Daily Paper, TV)

1979 Pinselheinrich (Heinrich Zille, TV)
1979 Blauvogel (Blue Bird)
1978 Zünd an, es kommt die Feuerwehr (Set a Fire, the Fire Brigade Is Coming)
1976 Tambari
1976 Heimkehr in ein fremdes Land (Return to a Foreign Country, TV mini-series)


Ottokar der Weltverbesserer (Ottokar, the World Reformer)

1975 Ein Feigenblatt für Kuhle Wampe (Kuhle Wampe – Censored!, TV, docudrama)


Johannes Keppler


Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz (The Naked Man on the Sports Field)

1972 Leichensache Zernik (Murder Case Zernik)
1968-70 Ich – Axel Cäsar Springer (I, Axel Caesar Springer, TV series)
1968 Die Toten bleiben jung (The Dead Stay Young)
1967 Ich war neunzehn (I Was Nineteen)
1965/66-90 Berlin um die Ecke (Berlin around the Corner)

Shibboleth login