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Hans Albers

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Hans Albers (September 22, 1891 Hamburg - July 24, 1960 Starnberg) was a German actor and singer. He was the single biggest male movie star in Germany between 1930 and 1945 and one of the most popular German actors of the twentieth century.

He was born Hans Philipp August Albers in Hamburg, the son of a butcher, and grew up in the district of St. Georg. He was seriously interested in acting by his late teens and took acting classes without the knowledge of his parents. In 1915 Albers was drafted to serve the fatherland in the Great War (World War I), but he was, in retrospect, lucky enough to be wounded early on. After the war Albers moved to Berlin, where he found work as a comedic actor in various Weimar-Era Berlin theatres. His breakthrough performance was that of a waiter in the play Verbrecher (Criminals). It was also in Weimar Berlin that Albers began a long-term relationship with half-Jewish actress Hansi Burg (d 1975). The relationship ended only when he died in 1960.

After roles in over one hundred silent films, Albers starred in the first German talkie Die Nacht gehört uns (The Night Belongs to Us) in 1929. Soon thereafter, Albers played big-mouthed strong man Mazeppa alongside Marlene Dietrich in her star-making classic Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel). Albers himself shot to fame in 1930 with the movie Der Greifer and constantly enhanced his star status with similar daredevil roles in the 1930s. He was probably at his best when teamed-up with fellow German movie legend Heinz Rühmann, as in Bomben auf Monte Carlo (1931) and Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war (1937). Many of Albers’ songs from his movies became huge hits and some even remain popular to this day.

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