Friday, January 24, 2014
Ady Berber (14 Feb 1913 – 03 Jan 1966)
Ady Berber was German cinema’s equivalent to the likes of Milton Reid or Thor Johnson, a burly world wrestling champion who later in life started a career in movies. Despite being physically impressive he was rarely given a chance to shine acting wise even though he had studied at the renowned Max-Reinhard-Seminar in Vienna.
His Krimi credits include Die Toten Augen von London/Dead Eyes of London, Im Stahlnetz des Dr. Mabuse/The Return of Dr. Mabuse, Die Tür mit den 7 Schlössern/The Door with Seven Locks, Die schwarze Kobra/The Black Cobra, Die Nylonschlinge/Nylon Noose, Das indische Halsband/The Indian Scarf, Scotland Yard jagt Dr Mabuse/Dr. Mabuse vs Scotland Yard, Frühstück mit dem Tod/Murder by Proxy, Tim Frazer jagt den geheimnisvollen Mister X/Case 33: Antwerp, Hotel der toten Gäste [Hotel of the Dead Guests], Der Mörder mit dem Seidenschal/The Killer with the Silk Scarf and Der Würger vom Tower [The Strangler of the Tower] though he also appeared in a good number of comedies and German musical productions and had a small supporting part in Ben Hur. He also showed up in some international productions such as the circus strongman threatening Anne Baxter’s life in Carnival Story.
His cinematic career began with a very small number of movies in the 1930s and 1940s but did not really kick off until after the war.
A legend in the world of professional wrestling, he was twice World (1938, 1947) and three times European champion (1938, 1948, 1949). He operated a restaurant carrying his name in Vienna and also ran a second establishment, Das Arbeiterheim, in Neunkirchen which also contained a wrestling ring in its back rooms.
After withdrawing from sports in the early 1950s, he actively focused on his acting career and studied at the Max-Reinhard-Seminar in Vienna.
At 6’5” in height and weighing in at 33lbs, he was memorable primarily through his threatening physique and rarely was offered proper speaking parts. At his best he impressed with roles such as the silent brute Blind Jack in Dead Eyes of London. His roles were often short but always highly memorable.
He passed away much too young of cancer just shortly before his 53rd birthday.
Though he is generally known as Ady, his grave spells his name with an “i”, a spelling that is also at times displayed in the credits of some of his movies. He was born Adolf Berber but wisely opted against using this first name during his career