Gert Fröbe

Karl Gerhart "Gert" Fröbe (German: [ˈɡɛɐ̯t ˈfʁøːbə]; 25 February 1913 5 September 1988) was a German film and stage actor. He is best known in English-speaking countries for his work as Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger, as Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, as Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as Hotzenplotz in Der Räuber Hotzenplotz and Colonel Manfred von Holstein in Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.

Gert Fröbe
Fröbe in 1965
Karl Gerhart Fröbe

(1913-02-25)25 February 1913
Oberplanitz (now Zwickau), Kingdom of Saxony, German Empire
Died5 September 1988(1988-09-05) (aged 75)
Years active1948–1988
Political partyNational Socialist German Workers' (19291937)
Spouse(s)Karin Kuderer-Pistorius (1970–?)
Beate Bach (1962–1968)
Hannelore Görtz (1953–1959)
Tatjana Iwanow (one child)
Clara Peter (one child)

Early life and education

Fröbe was born in Oberplanitz, today part of Zwickau. He was initially a violinist, but he abandoned it for Kabarett and theatre work.[1]

He joined the Nazi Party in 1929 at the age of 16 and left in 1937.[2] After his party membership became known, Israel banned Fröbe's films until a Jewish survivor revealed that his life and his mother's were probably saved when Fröbe hid them from the Nazis.[3] In September 1944, the Nazis closed down theatres in Germany and he was drafted into the German Army, where he served until the end of World War II.[1]


Fröbe gained fame in one of the first German films made after the Second World War, called Berliner Ballade (The Ballad of Berlin, 1948). His character's name, "Otto Normalverbraucher" (lit. Otto Average Consumer), became the German term equivalent to "Average Joe.”[4]

He was cast as the villain in the Swiss-German film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (It Happened in Broad Daylight, 1958), with the original screenplay written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. His role as a serial killer of children drew the attention of the producers of the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964) and he was chosen to play one of the best remembered villains of the series, gold tycoon Auric Goldfinger. He later remarked, "The ridiculous thing is that since I played Goldfinger in the James Bond film there are some people who still insist on seeing me as a cold, ruthless villain - a man without laughs."[5] Due to his former membership in the Nazi Party, the film was initially banned in Israel until the Jewish family he had protected during the war came forward and thanked him for saving their lives.[3][6]

Fröbe made several appearances in all-star casts in the 1960s, including the films The Longest Day (1962), Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965), Is Paris Burning? (1966), "Triple Cross" (1966) and Monte Carlo or Bust (1969). During the 1980s, Fröbe played small parts in Mercedes Benz W123 commercials, helping to promote the coupé and the sedan. Aside from acting, Fröbe was a prolific reciter of lyric poetry, especially that of Christian Morgenstern and Joachim Ringelnatz.


Fröbe died in Munich in September 1988 at age 75 from a heart attack.[3] He was buried at the Waldfriedhof cemetery in Icking.


Year Title Role Language Notes
1948 Der Herr vom andern SternExtraGermanUncredited
Berliner BalladeOtto NormalverbraucherGerman
1949After the Rain Comes SunshineKonstantinGerman
1951Decision Before DawnGerman CorporalEnglishUncredited
1952The Day Before the WeddingRundfunkreporterGerman
1953 Man on a TightropePolice AgentEnglishUncredited
Salto MortaleJanGerman
A Heart Plays FalseBriefüberbringerGerman
Die vertagte HochzeitsnachtGondoliereGerman
Arlette Conquers ParisManager Edmond DuvalGerman
Hochzeit auf ReisenHerr MengwasserGerman
1954 The Little Town Will Go to SleepOskar BlumeGerman
DaybreakBit partGerman
The Hunter's CrossKobbeGerman
They Were So YoungLobosEnglish
A Double LifeMittelmeierGerman
The Eternal WaltzGawriloffGerman
1955 Special DeliveryOlafEnglish
The Dark StarDeltorriGerman
Ich weiß, wofür ich lebePfeifer, Inspektor JugendfürsorgeGerman
Mr. ArkadinMunich DetectiveEnglish
Heroes and SinnersHermannFrench
Das Forsthaus in TirolBäuerle, KaufmannGerman
1956 The Girl from FlandersRittmeister KupferGerman
Ein Herz schlägt für ErikaHeubacherGerman
Winter in the WoodsGerstenbergGerman
1957 Typhon sur NagasakiRitterFrench
The Girl and the LegendMr. GillisGerman
He Who Must DiePatriarcheosFrench
The Mad BombergKommerzienrat Gustav-Eberhard MühlbergGerman
Charmants GarçonsEdmond PetersenFrench
The Heart of St. PauliJabowskiGerman
1958 Polizeiaktion DynamitHansFrench
Nasser AsphaltJuppGerman
It Happened in Broad DaylightSchrottGerman
RosemaryWilly BrusterGerman
Grabenplatz 17Titu GoritschGerman
The CrammerFreddy BleiGerman
Das Mädchen mit den KatzenaugenTessmannGerman
1959 Nick Knattertons AbenteuerHugoGerman
Prisoner of the VolgaProfessorEnglish
Douze heures d'horlogeBlancheFrench
Jons und ErdmeSmailusGerman
The Forests Sing ForeverDagGerman
Menschen im HotelPreysingGerman
The Day the Rains CameDoctor Albert MaurerGerman
Der Schatz vom ToplitzseeJohannes GrohmannGerman
Old HeidelbergDoctor JüttnerGerman
1960 The High LifeDoctor KöllingGerman
Le Bois des amantsThe GeneralFrench
Soldatensender CalaisDer ChefGerman
The Thousand Eyes of Dr. MabuseInspector KrasGerman
Bis daß das Geld euch scheidetJupp GrapschGerman
Der Gauner und der liebe GottPaul WittkowskiGerman
1961 The Green ArcherAbel BellamyGerman
Via MalaJonas LauretzGerman
The Return of Doctor Mabuse [note 1]Kommissar LohmannGermanUSA screening in 1966
Auf WiedersehenAngelo PirroneGerman
1962 RedheadKramerGerman
Das Testament des Dr. MabuseKommissar LohmannGerman
The Longest DaySgt. KaffeekanneEnglish
1963 Enough RopeMelchior KimmelFrench
Heute kündigt mir mein MannAlfred PaulsenGerman
Die DreigroschenoperPeachumGerman
Banana PeelRaymond LachardFrench
1964 Greed in the SunCastiglianoFrench
Tonio KrögerPoliceman PetersonGerman
BackfireKarl FehrmanFrench
GoldfingerAuric GoldfingerEnglishDubbed into English by Michael Collins.
1965 A High Wind in JamaicaDutch CaptainEnglish
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying MachinesColonel Manfred von HolsteinEnglish
Who Wants to Sleep?Emil ClaasenGerman
1966 The Upper HandWalterFrench
Is Paris Burning?General Dietrich von CholtitzEnglish
Triple CrossColonel SteinhagerEnglish
1967 I Killed RasputinGrigori RasputinEnglish
Jules Verne's Rocket to the MoonProfessor von BulowEnglish
1968 Caroline chérieDoctor BelhommeFrench
Chitty Chitty Bang BangBaron BomburstEnglish
1969 Monte Carlo or Bust [note 2]Willi Schickel / Horst MullerEnglish
1971 $Mr. KesselEnglish
1972 LudwigFather HoffmannEnglish
1974 Der Räuber HotzenplotzHotzenplotzGerman
And Then There Were NoneWilhelm BloreEnglishDubbed into English by Robert Rietti.
Nuits RougesCommissaire SorbierFrench
1975 Docteur JusticeMax OrwallFrench
1976 Death RiteVestarFrench
1977 Das Gesetz des ClansPhilip BrownGerman
The Serpent's EggInspector BauerEnglish
Tod oder FreiheitGraf von ButtlarGerman
1978 Der SchimmelreiterTede VolkertsGerman
Der TiefstaplerFelix von KornGerman
1979 BloodlineInspector Max HornungEnglish
1980 The Umbrella CoupOtto Krampe ("Whale")French
1981 The FalconJug BogdanSerbo-Croatian
1986–1987 The Little VampireDetective GurrmeyerGermanTV Series, 13 episodes


  1. Also known as The Phantom Fiend.
  2. Also known as Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies.


  1. Fokart, Burt A. (7 September 1988). "Gert Frobe, 75; Portrayed Goldfinger in Bond Movie". Los Angeles Times.
  2. "Hotzenplotz und Pickelhaube". (in German). 2 February 2010.
  3. "Gert Frobe, an Actor, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Associated Press. 6 September 1988.
  4. Deutsches Bühnen-Jahrbuch. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  5. Battersby, Matilda (January 2, 2013). "'No, Mr Bond, I Expect You to Die': Showdown Between Goldfinger and Sean Connery Voted Greatest James Bond Moment". The Independent. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  6. "FRÖBE-BOYKOTT: Böse zugespitzt". Hamburg, Germany: Der Spiegel. 21 February 1966.
James Bond
Preceded by
Joseph Wiseman
Dr. No
Titular Character Actor
Succeeded by
Christopher Lee
Preceded by
Lotte Lenya
Villain Actor
Succeeded by
Adolfo Celi
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