Wolff, Gerry


Gerry Wolff was born in Bremen, Germany, on June 23, 1920. Born to a Jewish family, he left Nazi Germany as a teenager for England in 1935. When WWII started in 1939, he was labeled an Enemy Alien and was detained at the Isle of Man. It was during this time that Wolff first acted in the camp theater. After his release, he worked as an editor for a London publishing house. In his free time, he joined the Free German Youth choir and theater group in London.


In 1947, Wolff returned to Germany. He played at the Berliner Ensemble starting in 1949 and joined the Volksbühne in 1956. In addition to the stage, he also played in film. He took on many supporting film roles, including in Kurt Maetzig’s Roman einer jungen Ehe, until he joined the DEFA Studios in 1961. His career as a film actor took off when Wolff was cast by director Frank Beyer in the concentration camp drama Nackt unter Wölfen. The film drew international attention when it was shown at the 1963 Moscow International Film Festival. Wolff also played in Egon Günther’s comedy Wenn du gross bist, lieber Adam that was banned in 1966 and not shown until 1990. In the role of Adam’s father, who together with his son helps to uncover lies with the help of a magic flashlight, was one of his few leading roles. 


Wolff’s name was credited in almost 200 films for cinema and television. Although he was cast mainly in smaller parts, his oeuvre covered several genres. He played in spy films, Westerns, musicals and period movies, as well as in children’s films.


As a multi-talented artist, Wolff was also a reader for audio books and a singer. In 1969, he released his first record, Gerry Wolff: Portrait in Noten, that included the song “Die Rose war rot” for which Wolff was awarded a Special Prize at the Sopot International Song Festival. In the 1990s, Wolff presented programs mainly with Yiddish songs and performed with the Klezmer band Aufwind. He had already proven his talent when he sang two Yiddish songs in Konrad Wolf’s acclaimed film Sterne (Stars, 1959).  


Wolff also worked on various dubbing projects, including Star Wars—he dubbed Yoda in the film’s first episode.


In 1999, Wolff gave an extensive interview about his life that was published as Gerry Wolff: Die Rose war rot in 2004, shortly before he died on February 16, 2005.


2003 In der Höhle der Löwin (In the Lioness's Cave, TV)
2002 Edgar Wallace – Die unheimlichen Briefe (Edgar Wallace: The Haunting Letters, TV)
2000 Jetzt oder nie – Zeit ist Geld (Now or Never: Time is Money)
1999 Der Einstein des Sex (The Einstein of Sex)
1997 Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (The Captain from Köpenick, TV)
1994 Wenn alle Deutschen schlafen (While All Germans Sleep, TV)
1991 Ende der Unschuld (End of Innocence, TV)
1986 1913 (TV)
1985 Franziska (TV)
1983 Martin Luther (TV series)
1982 Familie Rechlin (The Rechlin Family, TV)
1981 Dein unbekannter Bruder (Your Unknown Brother)
1977 Anton der Zauberer (Anton the Magician)
1974 Orpheus in der Unterwelt (Orpheus in the Underworld)
1973 Die Wahlverwandtschaften (Elective Affinities)
1972-2001 Polizeiruf 110 (Police Call 110, TV series)
1971 Anflug Alpha 1 (Approaching Alpha 1)
1971 Osceola
1969 Tödlicher Irrtum (Fatal Error)
1966/90 Wenn du groß bist, lieber Adam (When You’re Older, Dear Adam)
1965 Lots Weib (Lot’s Wife)
1963 For Eyes Only – streng geheim (For Eyes Only – Top Secret)
1962 Nackt unter Wölfen (Naked among Wolves)
1962 Revue um Mitternacht (Midnight Revue)
1957 Emilia Galotti (Emilia Galotti)
1955 Genesung (Recovery)


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