Krug, Manfred


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 Rosamunde
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 Käuzchenkuhle 
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)
Wenn du groß bist, lieber Adam (When You're Older, Dear Adam)
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)

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