Inge Meysel

Inge Meysel (30 May 1910 – 10 July 2004) was a German actress. From the early 1960s until her death, Meysel was one of Germany's most popular actresses. She had a successful stage career and played more than 100 roles in film and on television.

Inge Meysel
Berlin Gedenktafel at house, Heylstraße 29, in Berlin-Schöneberg
Ingeborg Charlotte Hansen

(1910-05-30)30 May 1910
Died10 July 2004(2004-07-10) (aged 94)

Life and work

Born Ingeborg Charlotte Hansen, the daughter of Anna Hansen, who was Danish, and Julius Meysel, a German Jew. She attended drama schools in Berlin from 1928 until 1930, thereafter she was on stage in Zwickau, Leipzig and Berlin.

During Nazi Germany, Meysel was banned from performing from 1935 until 1945 because of her Jewish father.[1] In 1945 she restarted her career in Hamburg.

Since the early 1960s Inge Meysel mainly acted in made-for-TV films and got the nickname (Fernseh-) Mutter der Nation ("(Television) Mother of the Nation").

She won numerous German actor awards including a lifetime achievement award from the German Television Awards, but in 1981 she refused to accept the Bundesverdienstkreuz because "Einen Orden dafür, daß man anständig gelebt hat, brauche ich nicht" ("I don't need an order of merit just for having lived decently").

From the mid-1920s until shortly before her death, Meysel was outspoken on many - often controversial - social and political issues. Despite her decidedly leftist and feminist views, this did not harm her popularity as an actress. In 1992, she came out as bisexual.[2]

In 2004, aged 94, she died of heart failure at her home near Hamburg. She was cremated and her ashes were buried near her second husband the Austrian filmproducer John F. Olden (1918–1965) at Ohlsdorf Main Cemetery, Hamburg.

Selected filmography


  • Die Wäscherin des Herrn Bonaparte (1954, based on Madame Sans-Gêne), as Catherine Hübscher
  • Im sechsten Stock (TV series, 3 episodes, 1954–55), as Germaine Lescalier
  • Die Heiratsvermittlerin (1955, based on The Matchmaker), as Dolly Levi
  • Ein Mann für Jenny (1956, based on The Reluctant Debutante), as Sheila Broadbent
  • Kabale und Liebe (1959, based on Intrigue and Love), as Miller's wife
  • Im sechsten Stock (TV series, 3 episodes, 1959), as Germaine Lescalier (remake of the 1954/55 TV series)
  • Die Zeit und die Conways (1960, based on Time and the Conways), as Mrs. Conway
  • Das Fenster zum Flur (1960), as Anni Wiesner
  • Madame Sans-Gêne (1960, based on Madame Sans-Gêne), as Catherine Hübscher (remake of Die Wäscherin des Herrn Bonaparte)
  • Schau heimwärts, Engel (1961, based on Look Homeward, Angel), as Eliza Gant
  • Der Biberpelz (1962, based on The Beaver Coat), as Mother Wolff
  • Wachet und singet (1964, based on Awake and Sing!), as Bessie Berger
  • Die Unverbesserlichen (TV series, 7 episodes, 1965–71), as Käthe Scholz
  • Gertrud Stranitzki (TV series, 13 episodes, 1966–68), as Gertrud Stranitzki
  • Die Ratten (1969, based on The Rats), as Mrs. John
  • Ida Rogalski (TV series, 13 episodes, 1969–70), as Ida Rogalski
  • So war Mama (1969, based on I Remember Mama), as Mama
  • Kinderheim Sasener Chaussee (TV series, 6 episodes, 1973), as Irene König
  • Eine geschiedene Frau (TV miniseries, 6 episodes, 1974), as Erika Seipold
  • Ihr 106. Geburtstag (1979), as Mamouret
  • Mrs. Harris (TV series, 6 episodes, 1982–91, based on the "Mrs. 'Arris" novels by Paul Gallico), as Ada Harris
  • Derrick - Season 12, Episode 8: "Schwester Hilde" (1985), as Schwester Hilde
  • Die Erbschaft (1987), as Wilhelmine Eisel
  • Die Staatskanzlei (1989)
  • Polizeiruf 110: 1A Landeier (1995), as Elisabeth Kampnagel
  • Die Liebenden vom Alexanderplatz (2001), as Ruth Levenstein
  • Polizeiruf 110: Mein letzter Wille (2004), as Elisabeth Kampnagel (final film role)



  1. Martins (September 23, 2010). "Remembered: Inge Meysel". Film Daily. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  2. "Ich war bisexuell, ich, die Mutter der Nation". (in German). 2004-07-10. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
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