Ludwig, Rolf


The actor Rolf Ludwig was born in Stockholm on July 28, 1925 and grew up in Dresden. He served in the German air force during WWII and was captured by the British. His close contact to the poet Wolfgang Borchert influenced his artistic work. His first professional stage performance was with the Hamburg Kammerspiele in 1947 and he continued performing throughout his life at theaters in Lübeck, in Berlin at the Volksbühne and the Deutsches Theater and made guest appearances at the Burgtheater in Vienna, among others.


Ludwig first appeared in small film parts in 1952 before his breakthrough came in 1956 with the title role in Der Hauptmann von Köln. Ludwig’s popularity grew with his work in several Stacheltier films. His next great public success was in the contemporary comedy Der Mann mit dem Objektiv.


Several of Ludwig’s finest films resulted from his work with director Egon Günther, such as Abschied and Lotte in Weimar. Günther wrote later “I don’t want to do anyone an injustice, but the pleasure in filming Lotte was to watch a brilliant comedian and to be able give him a little help in that balancing act between comedy and melancholy.”


Perhaps Rolf Ludwig’s most brilliant role of all was in one of the last East German films, Stein, also directed by Günther. In the title role, Ludwig plays a has-been actor who wavered between genius and insanity. For his performance Ludwig won the Italian Fellini-Prize.


Despite serious illness during the 1990s, he continued work in the theater and television and also wrote the book Nüchtern betrachtet (1995, transl. Keep It in Perspective). Rolf Ludwig died in Berlin on March 27, 1999.


Festivals & Awards:

1991 Italian Fellini Prize for Best Actor for Stein
1982 Best Actor in a Supporting Role, GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt, for Die Verlobte

Bibliography & More:

Ludwig, Rolf. Nüchtern betrachtet (transl. Keep It in Perspective). Berlin: Verlag Das Neue Berlin. 1995.


1997 Winterkind (Winter Child, TV)
1995 Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church, TV)
1992 Das Land hinter dem Regenbogen (The Land beyond the Rainbow)
1991 Stein
1986 Das Schulgespenst (The School Ghost)
1986 Stielke, Heinz, fünfzehn... (Stielke, Heinz, Fifteen)
1984 Wo andere schweigen
(Where Others Keep Silent)
1983 Mortiz in der Litfaßsäule
(Moritz in the Advertising Pillar)
1980 Levins Mühle (Levin’s Mill)
1980 Die Verlobte (The Fiancée)
1978 Zünd an, es kommt die Feuerwehr (Set a Fire, the Fire Brigade Is Coming)
1977 Wer reißt den gleich vor’m Teufel aus (The Devil’s Three Golden Hairs)
1977 Ich zwing dich zu leben (I’ll Force You to Live)
1975 Lotte in Weimar
1972 Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula)
1971 Der Dritte (Her Third)
1970 Karriere (Career)
1969 Tödlicher Irrtum (Fatal Error)
1969 Seine Hoheit – Genosse Prinz (His Excellence, Comrade Prince)
1969 Netzwerk (Network)
1968/87 Die Russen kommen (The Russians Are Coming)
1968 Abschied (Farewell)
1968 Jungfer, sie gefällt mir (Maiden, You Please Me)
1966 Flucht ins Schweigen (Escape into Silence)
1964 Viel Lärm um nichts (Much Ado about Nothing)
1961 Der Fall Gleiwitz (The Gleiwitz Case)
1961 Der Mann mit dem Objektiv (The Man with the Objective Lens)
1961 Italienisches Capriccio (Italian Capriccio)
1959 Das Leben beginnt (Life Begins)
1959 Das Feuerzeug (The Tinderbox)
1958 Im Sonderauftrag (Special Mission)
1957 Das Stacheltier  Das Gesellschaftsspiel – eine unglaubliche Geschichte oder? (The Porcupine: The Parlor Game)
1956 Mich dürstet (I'm Thirsty)
1956 Thomas Müntzer
1956 Der Hauptmann von Köln (The Captain of Cologne)
1955 Der Richter von Zalamea (The Judge of Zalamea)
1954 Sommerliebe (Summer Love)
1955 Drei Mädchen im Endspiel (Three Girls in the Final)
1954 Wer seine Frau lieb hat (He Who Loves His Wife)

Das Stacheltier – Ede sonnabends (Ede on Saturdays)

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