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Paul Hörbiger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Hörbiger
Publicity photo, 1939
Born(1894-04-29)29 April 1894
Died5 March 1981(1981-03-05) (aged 86)
Vienna, Austria
Years active1928–1974
Josefa Gettke
(m. 1921; div. 1939)

Paul Hörbiger (29 April 1894 – 5 March 1981) was an Austrian theatre and film actor.[1]

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Life and work

Paul Hörbiger was born in the Hungarian capital Budapest, then part of Austria-Hungary, the son of engineer Hanns Hörbiger, founder of the Welteislehre cosmological concept, and elder brother of actor Attila Hörbiger. In 1902, the family returned to Vienna, while Paul attended the gymnasium (high school) at St. Paul's Abbey in Carinthia. Having obtained his Matura degree, he served in a mountain artillery regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Army in World War I, discharged in 1918 with the rank of an Oberleutnant.

After the war, Hörbiger took drama lessons and began his acting career in 1919 at the city theatre of Reichenberg (Liberec). From 1920, he performed at the New German Theatre in Prague. His fame grew when in 1926 he was employed by director Max Reinhardt at the ensemble of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, reaching a high point with his appointment at the Vienna Burgtheater in 1940. He also appeared at the 1943 Salzburg Festival, performing in the role as Papageno in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.

Hörbiger performing at the Kabarett der Komiker in Berlin, 1938

From 1928 he appeared in more than 250 films, mostly lightweight comedies of the Wiener Film genre popular among German and Austrian audiences during the 1930s and 40s. In 1936, he established his own filming company Algefa jointly with director E. W. Emo. In 1938, like many other celebrities, he openly acclaimed the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany and continued his career, appearing also in propaganda films like Wunschkonzert ("Request concert") or Die grosse Liebe ("The great love"), which earned him an entry on Goebbels' Gottbegnadeten list ("God-blessed list"). On the other hand, Hörbiger inconspicuously met with opposition circles around Theo Lingen and Oskar Sima. In the latter days of World War II, he was arrested for treason by the Nazi authorities.

After the war, he resumed his career playing the porter who "talks too much" in Carol Reed's British film classic The Third Man (1949). Hörbiger, not speaking English at the time, learned his lines phonetically.[2]

In the period 1947–49, he was chairman of the First Vienna FC football club.

Hörbiger remained one of the most popular German-speaking film actors of the 1950s and 1960s, starring in numerous Heimatfilm and Wiener Film productions. He again performed as the warm-hearted Viennese type and Heurigen singer, often together with Hans Moser and director Franz Antel. In his later years he again concentrated on theatre acting at the Burgtheater, where he last premiered in 1979 with Elias Canetti's Komödie der Eitelkeit ("Comedy of vanity").

Personal life

In 1921 he married the actress Josepha Gettke with whom he had four children. Hörbiger died in Vienna aged 86 and is buried in an Ehrengrab at the Vienna Zentralfriedhof. The actress Christiane Hörbiger, daughter from his brother Attila's marriage with Paula Wessely, is his niece. The actors Christian Tramitz and Mavie Hörbiger are grandchildren of Paul Hörbiger.

Selected filmography



  1. ^ "Paul Hörbiger". Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  2. ^ Giddins, Gary (22 May 2007). "Who Is Harry Lime?". The New York Sun. Retrieved 19 August 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 November 2023, at 20:25
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