Friday, May 30, 2014

Karlheinz Böhm, 1928-2014

Karlheinz Böhm (r.) with Anna Massey in Peeping Tom (1960)

The death has been announced of Austrian actor Karlheinz Böhm at his home after a long illness. Böhm was 86.

Deutsche Welle, being a German media outlet, unsurprisingly focusses on Böhm's German-language films, suggesting the he was most famous for playing Austrian Emperor Franz Josef opposite Romy Schneiders Sissi (a nickname for Elisabeth) in a series of movies in the 1950s. But those of us in the English-speaking world may remember him better for Michael Powell's 1960 film Peeping Tom, which has Böhm playing a cameraman with a dark secret.

In 1981, Böhm appeared on a German celebrity game show called Wetten dass, which basically has people doing stunts and celebrities wagering over whether the people can successfully do the stunt. Böhm wagered over whether a certain percentage of the home viewing audience would donate to famine relief in Ethiopia and Sudan, and that ultimately led to his founding the organization Menschen für Menschen (there's now a drop-down at the bottom which gives some info in English).

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