Helmut Griem


Actor
Helmut Griem

About

Birth Place
Hamburg, DE
Born
April 06, 1932

Biography

A strikingly handsome blond German actor, Helmut Griem has appeared in scores of international films but had his breakthrough role in Luchino Visconti's striking "The Damned" (1969), as Aschenbach, scheming to keep his cousins from supplying arms to the Nazi storm troopers. He reunited with the director to portray Durcheim, an officer loyal to the mad Bavarian king "Ludwig" (1972). But u...

Biography

A strikingly handsome blond German actor, Helmut Griem has appeared in scores of international films but had his breakthrough role in Luchino Visconti's striking "The Damned" (1969), as Aschenbach, scheming to keep his cousins from supplying arms to the Nazi storm troopers. He reunited with the director to portray Durcheim, an officer loyal to the mad Bavarian king "Ludwig" (1972). But undoubtedly his best-known role in the USA remains the elegantly debauched aristocrat Maximillian, who romances both Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) and Brian Roberts (Michael York) in Bob Fosse's Oscar-winning "Cabaret" (1972).

Born and raised in Hamburg, Griem entered featured with a small role in "East Zone, West Zone" (1958) but it was over a decade before he was "discovered" by Visconti. Utilizing the actor's handsome features and diffident air, Visconti cast him as the aristocratic Aschenbach, the bisexual with ties to the SS. Fosse played on the same qualities when he tapped Griem to portray Max, the embodiment of corruption in Weimar Germany. The actor turned in another strong performance under Visconti's eye as the army soldier with an unwavering devotion to Helmut Berger's insane monarch "Ludwig."

From the mid-70s on, Griem often appeared in German films with political themes. In "Children of Rage" (1974), he was miscast as a Jewish doctor caught up in the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, with Cyril Cusack as his father and Simon Ward as his brother. Griem was typically cast as the outsider who becomes enmeshed in matters with political consequence in such features as "Deutschland im Herbst/Germany in Autumn" (1978), "Mannen i skuggan/Black Sun" (1978) and "Kaltgestellt/Put on Ice" (1980). He delivered a strong supporting turn as a vicious ship's steward imperiously treating the Jewish passengers in the bloated all-star "Voyage of the Damned" (1976). On paper Griem seemed perfectly suited to play an architect wrongly imprisoned over a faultily designed school in "Die Glaesserne Zelle/The Glass Cell" (1978), but his performance was somewhat slack and monotone. Even when his character was driven to murder, the actor seemed curiously unimpassioned. He fared better as the doomed colleague of Richard Burton in "Breakthrough" (1979), an angel in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (1980) and in the title role of "Faust" (1989). More recently, he had a small role as an art dealer in the German comedy "Verlassen Sie Bitten Ihren Mann!/Please, Leave Your Husband" (1993), his last screen appearance to date.

By the mid-80s, Griem began to crack the US TV market with appearances in the NBC miniseries "Peter the Great" (1986) and the CBS TV-movie "The Plot to Kill Hitler" (1990).

Life Events

1958

Feature debut, "East Zone, West Zone"

1969

Had first leading role in films in Luchino Visconti's "La Caduta degli dei/The Damned"

1972

Had major supporting role of Max in Bob Fosse's "Cabaret"

1973

Portrayed army officer loyal to Helmut Berger's "Ludwig", directed by Visconti

1980

Played an angel in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic made-for-German TV-movie "Berlin Alexanderplatz"

1986

US TV debut in the NBC miniseries, "Peter the Great"

1990

Portrayed Rommel in the CBS TV-movie "The Plot to Kill Hitler"

1993

Last feature to date, the German-made "Verlassen Sie Bitten Ihren Mann!/Please, Leave Your Husband"

Videos

Movie Clip

Meetings Of Anna, The (1972) - You Never Know With little explanation and some nudity, Aurore Clément as the title character, back at her hotel with a man (Helmut Griem as Heinrich) she evidently met at a screening of her film in Essen, West Germany, and a less than passionate parting, early in Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-vous D’Anna, 1978, a.k.a. The Meetings Of Anna.
Meetings Of Anna, The (1972) - Open, You're The Directress Full of decisions if not action, Chantal Akerman opens her first feature after the landmark Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, 1975, at a train station in Essen, then-West Germany, and introduces her title character, Aurore Clément, as filmmaker Anne Silver, in Les Rendez-vous D’Anna, 1978, a.k.a. The Meetings Of Anna.
Meetings Of Anna, The (1972) - I Don't Like The Suburbs After she changed her mind about a sexual encounter the night before, touring film-maker Aurore Clément (title character) has decided to join new friend Heinrich (Helmut Griem) for a visit to his home in Bottrop, West Germany, outside Essen, where he fills her in about his life, in Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-vous D’Anna, 1978, a.k.a. The Meetings Of Anna.
Cabaret (1972) - Berlin, 1931 The opening is all director Bob Fosse and Joel Grey as the never-named “Master Of Ceremonies,” though the song is from the John Kander and Fred Ebb Broadway musical, and Michael York as innocent Englishman Brian is introduced in passing, in Cabaret, 1972, starring Liza Minnelli.

Bibliography