In Frau Venus und ihr Teufel © DEFA-Stiftung, Dieter Jaeger
Manfred Krug was born in Duisburg, Germany, on February 8, 1937. In 1949, his father divorced and father and son moved to Leipzig, East Germany, where Krug apprenticed as a smelter at age fourteen. The trademark scar on Krug’s forehead is a reminder of his time working at a steel mill.
Krug studied acting at the Staatliche Schauspielschule in East Berlin starting in 1954, but was expelled after 18 months. He completed his theater training at the Berliner Ensemble in 1957.
At the start of his acting career, Krug played supporting roles in television and cinema productions. His breakthrough came in 1960 with his role in Frank Beyer’s DEFA film about the Spanish Civil War, Fünf Patronenhülsen. Krug played the lead roles in the comedy Auf der Sonnenseite and film musical Revue um Mitternacht, and had the opportunity to demonstrate his talent as a singer and musician as well.
Krug was often cast as a socialist hero, but in 1965-66 two of his films were censored. In Beyer’s Spur der Steine, Krug starred as the beloved rebel Balla, a foreman who defies the authorities. In a supporting role in Egon Günther’s comedy Wenn du groß bist, lieber Adam, he portrayed a quirky, headstrong pastor and uncle figure to the film’s title character. Although both these films were banned as part of the sweeping censorship following the 11th Plenum, officials noted how popular Krug was among East Germans, and he continued to be cast in many successful TV productions and DEFA films.
Krug was also well known as a singer. In 1970, he was cast as Sporting Life in the East German premiere of George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. From 1971 to 1976, Krug collaborated with composer and musician Günther Fischer on several successful jazz and chanson records, writing most of the lyrics for the songs. Krug also released records with live recordings of concerts and Jazz-Lyrik-Prosa programs.
In 1976, Krug’s career as an actor and singer in East Germany came to an abrupt halt. After he protested the forced expatriation of political singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann, he was banned from performing. His request to move to West Germany was granted in 1977. In the West, Krug gained popularity quickly as the singing commissioner in the TV series Tatort and as a lawyer in Liebling Kreuzberg.
After a stroke in 2000, Krug cut back on film work and focused on singing, recording audio books and writing. After publishing his autobiography in two volumes, Mein schönes Leben (My Beautiful Life, 2005) and Abgehauen (1997), he published Schweinegezadder (Chewy Pig Meat), a collection of short stories in 2008.
Starting in 2014-15, Krug performed with jazz singer Uschi Brüning, whom he had known as a colleague and friend since 1970. In 2014, they recorded Auserwählt (Selected), for which they received the German Jazz Award in Gold (2015) and Platinum (2016). Manfred Krug passed away on October 21, 2016.
Festivals & Awards:
German Jazz Award in Platinum for album Auserwählt
|2015||German Jazz Award in Gold for album Auserwählt|
|2006||Romy Lifetime Achievement Award in Platinum|
Bibliography & More:
Krug, Manfred. Schweinegezadder (Chewy Pig Meat, short stories). Berlin: Ullstein Taschenbuch, 2008.
Krug, Manfred. Mein schönes Leben (My Beautiful Life). Berlin: Econ, 2003.
Krug, Manfred. Abgehauen (Escape). Berlin: Econ, 1997.
|1984 - 2001||Tatort (Crime Scene, TV series)|
|1987 - 1998||Liebling Kruzberg (Darling Kreuzberg, TV series)|
|1994 - 1995||Wir sind auch nur ein Volk (We Are Only a People, TV series)|
|1994||Der Blaue (The Blue One)|
|1990||Ein Mann fürs Leben (A Man for Life, TV)|
|1977||Das Versteck (The Hiding Place)|
|1973||Wie füttert man einen Esel (How Do You Feed a Donkey?)|
|1971||Die Vorschworenen (The Conspirators, TV series)|
|1970||Husaren in Berlin (Hussars in Berlin)|
|1970||Meine Stunde Null (My Zero Hour)|
|1969||Weite Straßen – stille Liebe (Wide Streets, Silent Love)|
|1968||Wege übers Land (Ways Across the Countryside, TV series)|
|1968||Mit mir nicht, Madam! (Not on My Watch, Madam!)|
|1968||Hauptman Florian von der Mühle (Captain Florian of the Mill)|
|1967||Frau Venus und ihr Teufel (Lady Venus and Her Devil)|
|1966||Spur der Steine (Trace of Stones)|
|1965||König Drosselbart (King Throstlebeard)|
|1964||Mir nach, Canaillen! (Follow Me, Rascals!)|
|1962||Revue um Mitternacht (Midnight Revue)|
Der Kinnhaken (Knock-Out)
|1962||Beschreibung eines Sommers (Description of a Summer)|
|1961||Auf der Sonnenseite (On the Sunny Side)|
|1960||Fünf Patronenhülsen (Five Cartridges)|
|1960||Professor Mamlock (Professor Mamlock)|
|1958||Es geschah in Berlin (It Happened in Berlin, TV)|
Die Schönste (The Most Beautiful)
|1957||Vergesst mir meine Traudel nicht (Don’t Forget My Little Traudel)|
Mazurka der Liebe (Love’s Mazurka)
Ein Mädchen von 16 ½ (A Girl of 16 ½)
|1957||Die letzte Nacht (The Last Night, TV)|