Rudi Carrell

Rudi Carrell (19 December 1934[1] – 7 July 2006), born Rudolf Wijbrand Kesselaar, was a Dutch entertainer, born in Alkmaar. Along with famous entertainers such as Johannes Heesters and Linda de Mol, Carrell was one of the most successful Dutch personalities active in Germany.[2]

Rudi Carrell
Carrell in 1980
Rudolf Wijbrand Kesselaar

(1934-12-19)19 December 1934
Died7 July 2006(2006-07-07) (aged 71)

He worked as a television entertainer and hosted his own show; the Rudi Carrell Show ran first in the Netherlands, and then for many years in Germany. As a singer he had a number of hits, including a Dutch version of "A Windmill in Old Amsterdam",[3] and acted in several movies.

Eurovision Song Contest

He represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest 1960 with the song "Wat een geluk" (What luck). He finished 12th out of 13, scoring just 2 points. Carrell provided the Dutch radio commentary for the 1987 Contest.

Rudi Carrell Show

The Rudi Carrell Show was a huge success in Germany from the 1960s to the 1990s. The show included a similar concept to Star Search or Pop Idol and brought many well-known German pop stars and actors to prominence, such as Alexis or Mark Keller. It also featured comedy sketches.

His show was also pretty popular in some other European non-German speaking countries like Slovenia.

In between he hosted other popular shows, including Am laufenden Band, Rudis Tagesshow, Herzblatt, Die verflixte 7 and 7 Tage, 7 Köpfe.

Controversial humor

In 1987, he famously caused a diplomatic rift between Germany and Iran with a sketch in which veiled women threw their undergarments at someone dressed like Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The Iranian government responded by expelling two German diplomats and permanently closing the Goethe Institute in Tehran.[4]


In an interview in November 2005 the entertainer confirmed to the magazine Bunte, that he was suffering from lung cancer. He died on 7 July 2006 in Bremen, Germany, aged 71.


  • Carrell, Rudi (1979). Gib mir mein Fahrrad wieder [Give me my bike back] (in German). Wien/München/Zürich/Innsbruck: Molden Verlag. ISBN 978-3-21700-981-3.
  • Schiweck, Ingo; von Osterhausen, Hans-Jürgen; Schult, Susanne (2005). "Lass dich überraschen": Niederländische Unterhaltungskünstler in Deutschland nach 1945 ["Let yourself be surprised": Dutch entertainers in Germany after 1945] (in German). Münster: Agenda. ISBN 978-3-89688-255-4.
  • Schult, Susanne (2000). Rudi Carrell : das Image eines Stars in der Geschichte des deutschen Fernsehens [Rudi Carrell: the image of a star in the history of German television] (in German). Osnabrück: Der Andere Verlag. ISBN 978-3-93436-687-9.

See also


  1. "Bevolkingsregister met Andries Kesselaar". Wie was wie (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  2. "Rudi Carrell – Acteur". Movie Newz (in Dutch). 17 April 2010. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  3. Dobbe, Raymond (April 10, 1965). "News from the Music Capitals of the World: Amsterdam". Billboard. p. 18.
  4. Kasza, Peter (17 May 2010). "Die Strumpfbandaffäre". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 13 January 2012.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Teddy Scholten
with "Een beetje"
Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Greetje Kauffeld
with "Wat een dag"
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