Fritz Rasp

Fritz Heinrich Rasp (13 May 1891 – 30 November 1976) was a German film actor who appeared in 104 films between 1916 and 1976. His obituary in Der Spiegel described Rasp as "the German film villain in service, for over 60 years."[1]

Fritz Rasp
Fritz Heinrich Rasp

(1891-05-13)13 May 1891
Bayreuth, Germany
Died30 November 1976(1976-11-30) (aged 85)
Gräfelfing, Germany
Years active1909–1976

Life and career

Fritz Heinrich Rasp was the thirteenth child of a county surveyor. He was educated from 1908–1909 at the Theaterschule Otto Königin in Munich. He made his stage debut in 1909, after he successfully overcame a speech impediment. During his long career, the character actor appeared in some of the most famous theatres in Germany, working with acclaimed directors like Bertolt Brecht and Max Reinhardt and famous actors like Albert Bassermann, Joseph Schildkraut and Werner Krauss. Rasp made an early film debut in 1916 and appeared in some early films by his friend, director Ernst Lubitsch. With his "gaunt, ascetic looks",[2] Rasp played numerous scoundrels or shady characters during the Golden Age of German cinema in the 1920s. He is considered to be one of the most successful film villains in German film history.

Some of Rasp's more notable film roles were "J. J. Peachum" in The Threepenny Opera (1931), as the reckless seducer Meinert in Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), as Mr. Brocklehurst in Orphan of Lowood (1926), an early German adaptation of Jane Eyre, and as the bank robber Grundeis in Emil and the Detectives (1931). He also portrayed the mysterious "Der Schmale" ("The Thin Man") in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927). Many of the scenes in the latter film in which he appears are part of the Metropolis footage long believed lost until their recovery in 2008.[3][4] In the 1960s, Rasp also appeared in numerous Edgar Wallace criminal films. In one of his last films, Bernhard Sinkel's comedy-drama Lina Braake (1975), Rasp starred against-type as a likable pensioner who steals money from an unscrupulous bank.

Fritz Rasp was awarded with the Filmband in Gold in 1963 for his outstanding work for the German film.

Personal life

Fritz Rasp died of cancer at age 85 in Gräfelfing, where he is also buried. His son Andreas Rasp (1921–2013) was a Gymnasium teacher and poet, his daughter Renate Rasp (1935–2015) a notable writer associated with the Group 47.[5]

Selected filmography


  1. Spiegel
  2. As Volker Wachter describes him
  3. "Buenos Aires Ciudad". Museos de Buenos Aires. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012.
  4. "Lost scenes of 'Metropolis' discovered in Argentina". The Local. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
  5. Obituary for Renate Rasp in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
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