Helmut Berger was a European star in the 1960s and 1970s. He was once considered the most beautiful man in the world, followed by scandals and the crash. On May 29, the native of Bad Ischler would have been 79 years old. As his agent Helmut Werner reported to APA, he died Berger on Thursday morning “peaceful, but still unexpected” in Salzburg. Enjoyed his life motto “La Dolce Vita”. Berger life to the fullest.
With roles in films such as “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”, “The Garden of Finzi Contini”, “The Rival” or “The Godfather – Part III” Helmut achieved Berger world fame. Playing alongside him were Romy Schneider, Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster and Silvana Mangano.
Bisexual roles made him famous
Made the breakthrough Berger with his roles in “The Damned” (1969) and “Ludwig II.” (1972), for the former he was nominated in 1970 for the Golden Globe as best young actor. Both films were directed by Luchino Visconti. The 38-year-old Italian had Berger discovered, he became his partner and “father substitute”. Berger personified the breaking of sexual taboos in European cinema. He became known in particular for his portrayal of narcissistic and bisexual figures.
Visconti died in 1976 and Berger fell into a crisis. A suicide attempt followed, alcohol excesses, a decadent lifestyle, but hardly any new major roles. Berger said that he never fell in love with anyone after Visconti.
On the cover of Vogue
Berger increasingly drew on his past and the rating of the once “most beautiful man in the world”, as he once adorned the cover of “Vogue” magazine. Instead of acting, he is more talked about with appearances on talk shows. “I’m totally screwed up,” he explained in 1996 on Harald Schmidt’s then Sat.1 show. Media reported about his excessive excesses with alcohol and other drugs and his numerous affairs.
2013 in the jungle camp
He received a lot of attention again when he moved to the RTL jungle camp in 2013. For health reasons, he got out again after a few days, but suddenly younger people also knew him. The appearance was certainly not particularly beneficial for his image. “I don’t give a shit,” says Berger filmmaker Valesca Peters when she asks him what other people think of him.
In court quarreled Berger with director Andreas Horvath, who portrayed him in the documentary “Helmut Berger“Actor” had shown while masturbating. Some scenes were “embarrassing and degrading,” according to the accusation.
Late theater debut
Touched just before his 70th birthday in 2014 Berger Meanwhile, with a rather quiet appearance: Shaky and in poor health, he appeared on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival for the world premiere of “Saint Laurent”. In 2018 he made his theatrical debut at an advanced age: he played at the Volksbühne Berlin Berger at the side of Ingrid Caven a baron of the baroque period.
Honorary citizen of the imperial city
In Bad Ischl, he received the award-winning Berger the city’s cultural badge of honor for his 75th birthday, and a bust of the actor was unveiled on the forecourt of the Lehartheater, showing him in his starring role as Ludwig II.
In 2019 the documentary “Helmut BergerMy Mother and I” by filmmaker Valesca Peters. Released in November 2019 Berger finally announced that he was retiring from acting after suffering from several cases of pneumonia. Like his role model Marlene Dietrich, he wants to spend the rest of his life outside of the public eye. The former favorite at all parties of the international jet set “lived happily, contentedly and in a good mood in Salzburg until the end”, as his agent Werner said Berger quoted: “I have lived three lives. And in four languages! Je ne regrette rien!”