Friday, May 13, 2016

Born Today May 13: Fritz Rasp


Fritz Heinrich Rasp was born in Bayreuth, Germany to a very large family--he had at least 12 other siblings.  Between the years 1908 & 1909 he attended acting school in Munich, where he leaned to overcome a speech impediment by developing a Frankish accent.   He made his stage debut later in 1909.  He soon established himself as quite the character actor, and would go on to work in stage productions directed by the likes of Max Reinhardt and Bertolt Brecht.  He made his film debut in 1916, in a short comedy directed by the soon to be famous Ernst LubitschSchuhpalast Pinkus.  By the early 1920's he was staple "heavy" in German silent films.  He might have acted in more films in the late 1910's if were not for his military service in the years 1916-1918.  The role that he by far and away most famous for is The Thin Man from Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).  The German film industry was somewhat behind that of the United States in terms of sound films; so it wouldn't be until 1930 that Rasp was in his first speaking role on film in The Dreyfus Case.  From then on, he would have a long and prolific career acting in films, acting right up until the year of his death.  He was so well known as a villainous character actor, that when he died 30 November at the age of 85 in 1976, his obituary in Der Speigal, read in part "the German film villain in service for over 60 years."  He is buried in Friedhof Gräfelfing Cemetery.  

Scene from Metropolis

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