Curd Jürgens

Curd Jürgens

Curd Jürgens 1971
Born Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens
(1915-12-13)13 December 1915
Solln, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died 18 June 1982(1982-06-18) (aged 66)
Vienna, Austria
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality Austrian
Occupation Actor
Years active 1935–1982
Spouse(s) Lulu Basler (1938–1947)
Judith Holzmeister (1947–1955)
Eva Bartok (1955–1956) (1 child)
Simone Bicheron (1958–1977)
Margie Schmitz (1978–1982)
Children Deana Jurgens (b. 1957)[1]
Awards Volpi Cup for Best Actor
1955 Les héros sont fatigués

Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens (13 December 1915  18 June 1982) was a German-Austrian stage and film actor. He was usually billed in English-speaking films as Curt Jurgens.

Early life

Jürgens was born on 13 December 1915 in the Munich borough of Solln, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire. His father, Kurt, was a trader from Hamburg, and his mother, Marie-Albertine, was a French teacher.[2][3][4] He began his working career as a journalist before becoming an actor at the urging of his actress wife, Louise Basler. He spent much of his early acting career on the stage in Vienna.

Jürgens was critical of National Socialism in his native Germany. In 1944, he was sent to an internment camp in Hungary as a "political unreliable".[5]

Jürgens became an Austrian citizen after the war.


Like many multilingual German-speaking actors, Jürgens went on to play soldiers in many war films. Notable performances in this vein include his breakthrough screen role in Des Teufels General (1955, The Devil's General), a fictional portrayal of World War I flying ace and World War II Luftwaffe general Ernst Udet, followed by Roger Vadim's film Et Dieu... créa la femme (And God Created Woman) starring Brigitte Bardot.

Jürgens first Hollywood film was The Enemy Below (1957), in which he portrayed a German U-boat commander. In 1962 he played the German general Günther Blumentritt in The Longest Day. Later, in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), he played the villain Karl Stromberg, a sociopathic industrialist seeking to transform the world into an ocean paradise. His last film appearance was as Maître Legraine, beside Alain Delon and Claude Jade in the spy-thriller Teheran 43 (1981). In English-language television he played Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in several episodes of the BBC series Fall of Eagles (1974) and appeared as General Vladimir in the BBC's Smiley's People (1982).

Jürgens' grave in the Zentralfriedhof

Although he appeared in over 100 films, Jürgens considered himself primarily a stage actor. His last stage appearance was with the Vienna State Opera on 9 March 1981 as Bassa Selim in Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail.[6] He also directed a few films with limited success, and wrote screenplays.

He titled his 1976 autobiography … und kein bißchen weise (And not a Bit Wise).[7]

Personal life

Jürgens maintained a home in France, but frequently returned to Vienna to perform on stage. He died there from a heart attack on 18 June 1982. Jürgens had suffered a heart attack several years before. During this he had a near-death experience where he claimed he died and went to Hell. Jürgens was interred in the Vienna's Zentralfriedhof.

He was a tall man, standing 1.92 metres (6 ft 4 in) tall.[8] Brigitte Bardot nicknamed him "the Norman Wardrobe" during their work for Et Dieu… créa la femme.[9]

Jürgens was married to:

  1. Lulu Basler, actress (15 June 1937 – 8 October 1947) (divorced)
  2. Judith Holzmeister (16 October 1947 – 1955) (divorced)
  3. Eva Bartok (13 August 1955 – 1957) (divorced)
  4. Simone Bicheron (14 September 1958 – 1977) (divorced)
  5. Margie Schmitz (21 March 1978 – 18 June 1982) (till his death)

Partial filmography

  • Königswalzer (1935) as Kaiser Franz Joseph von Österreich (Jürgens' first film)
  • Familienparade (1936) as Graf Erik Stjernenhö
  • The Unknown (1936) as Hans Wellenkamp
  • Love Can Lie (1937) as Student Holger Engström
  • To New Shores (1937) as Bobby Wells' Freund
  • Tango Notturno (1937) as Ein Freund Jacs, Musiker (uncredited)
  • Das Mädchen von gestern Nacht (1938) as Die drei Attachés (uncredited)
  • Salonwagen E 417 (1939) as Prinz Heinrich Karl
  • Weltrekord im Seitensprung (1940) as Peter Enderlein - Kapellmeisster
  • Herz ohne Heimat (1940) as Bob (uncredited)
  • Operetta (1940) as Karl Millöcker
  • Stimme des Herzens (1942) as Volontär Drews
  • Whom the Gods Love (1942) as Emperor Joseph II
  • Women Are No Angels (1943) as Bandini
  • Ein glücklicher Mensch (1943) as Petersen
  • Ein Blick zurück (1944) as Dr. Erich Thienwiebel
  • Eine kleine Sommermelodie (1944) as Wolfgang Schwab
  • Das singende Haus (1947) as Bandleader Hans Storch
  • Hin und her (1948) as Prinz Bernardo
  • Der Engel mit der Posaune (1948) as Graf Leopold Thraun
  • An klingenden Ufern (1948) as Stefan Keller
  • The Mozart Story (1948) as Emperor Joseph II
  • Der himmlische Walzer (1948) as Clemens M. Weidenauer
  • Verlorenes Rennen (1948) as George Miller
  • Das Kuckucksei (1949) as Dr. Kurt Walla
  • Lambert fühlt sich bedroht (1949) as Roland
  • Hexen (1949) as Heinz Wagner
  • Viennese Girls (1949) as Graf Lechenberg
  • Prämien auf den Tod (1950) as Gunarson, Operntenor
  • Der Schuß durchs Fenster (1950)
  • Küssen ist keine Sünd (1950) as Kammersänger, Felix Alberti
  • Die gestörte Hochzeitsnacht (1950) as Lawrence Vinning
  • Eine seltene Geliebte (1950) as Sascha Borotraz
  • Ein Lächeln im Sturm (1951) as Jean Langrand
  • Geheimnis einer Ehe (1951) as Dirigent Felix Adrian
  • Der schweigende Mund (1951) as Architekt Reinhold
  • Gangsterpremiere (1951) as Kommissar
  • Haus des Lebens (1952) as Axel Jolander
  • Knall und Fall als Hochstapler (1952) as John Vandergold
  • 1. April 2000 (1952) as Capitano Herakles
  • Du bist die Rose vom Wörthersee (1952) as Composer Jack Long
  • Praterherzen (1953) as Toni Brandstetter
  • Man nennt es Liebe (1953) as Peter Malmö
  • Music by Night (1953) as Hans Kersten
  • Der letzte Walzer (1953) as Rittmeister Graf Sarassow
  • Alles für Papa (1953) as Clemens Haberland
  • Meines Vaters Pferde I. Teil Lena und Nicoline (1954) as Pat
  • Eine Frau von heute (1954) as Heinz Bender
  • Circus of Love (1954) as Toni
  • Gefangene der Liebe (1954) as Willi Kluge
  • Orient Express (1954) as Bate
  • The Confession of Ina Kahr (1954) as Paul Kahr
  • Du bist die Richtige (1955) as Stefan Selby
  • Des Teufels General (1955) as Gen. Harry Harras
  • Liebe ohne Illusion (1955) as Walter
  • Die Ratten (1955) as Bruno Mechelke
  • Heroes and Sinners (1955) as Wolf Gerke
  • Du mein stilles Tal (1955) as Gerd
  • Devil in Silk (1956) as Thomas Ritter
  • Die goldene Brücke (1956) as Balder
  • Ohne Dich wird es Nacht (1956) as Dr. Robert Kessler
  • And God Created Woman (1956) as Eric Carradine
  • The House of Intrigue (Italian: Londra chiama polo Nord) (1956) as Colonel Bernes
  • Michael Strogoff (1956) as Michel Strogoff
  • Bitter Victory (1957) as Major Brand
  • An Eye for an Eye (1957) as Dr. Walter
  • Les Espions (1957) as Alex
  • The Enemy Below (1957) as Von Stolberg
  • Tamango (1958) as Captain John Reinker
  • This Happy Feeling (1958) as Preston Mitchell
  • Me and the Colonel (1958) as Colonel Prokoszny
  • The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) as Capt. Lin Nan
  • Der Schinderhannes (1958) as Johann 'Schinderhannes' Bückler
  • Le vent se lève (1959) as Eric Muller
  • Ferry to Hong Kong (1959) as Mark Bertram Conrad
  • The Blue Angel (1959) as Professor Immanuel Rath
  • Magnificent Sinner (1959) as Czar Alexander II
  • I Aim at the Stars (1960) as Wernher von Braun
  • Brainwashed (1960) as Werner von Basil
  • Gustav Adolfs Page (1960) as König Gustav Adolf
  • Bankraub in der Rue Latour (1961) as Cliff MacHardy
  • Le Triomphe de Michel Strogoff (1961) as Michel Strogoff
  • Disorder (1962) as Carlo's Father
  • The Longest Day (1962) as General Günther Blumentritt
  • I Don Giovanni della Costa Azzurra (1962) as Mr. Edmond
  • Die Dreigroschenoper (1963) as Captain Macheath
  • Miracle of the White Stallions (1963) as Gen. Tellheim
  • Of Love and Desire (1963) as Paul Beckmann
  • Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1963) as Hugo Falsen
  • Hide and Seek (1964) as Hubert Marek
  • Encounter in Salzburg (1964) as Hans Wilke, General Director
  • Les Parias de la gloire (1964) as Ludwig Goetz
  • Psyche 59 (1964) as Eric Crawford
  • DM-Killer (1965) as Kurt Lehnert
  • Lord Jim (1965) as Cornelius
  • Who Wants to Sleep? (1965) as Stefan von Cramer
  • Zwei Girls vom Roten Stern (1966) as Dave O'Connor
  • Congress of Love (1966) as Czar Alexander I
  • Target for Killing (1966) as Gérard van Looch / Giant
  • Le Jardinier d'Argenteuil (1966) as Le Baron
  • Dirty Heroes (1967) as General Edwin von Keist
  • The Karate Killers (1967) as Carl von Kessen
  • Der Lügner und die Nonne (1967) as The cardinal
  • OSS 117 - Double Agent (1968) as Il Maggiore - il capo dei gangster
  • Der Arzt von St. Pauli (1968) as Dr. Jan Diffring
  • The Assassination Bureau (1969) as Gen. von Pinck
  • Battle of the Commandos (1969) as Gen. von Reilow
  • On the Reeperbahn at Half Past Midnight (1969) as Hannes Teversen
  • Battle of Britain (1969) as Baron von Richter
  • Battle of Neretva (1969) as Lohring
  • Ohrfeigen (1970) as Thomas Nathan Terbanks
  • Hotel by the Hour (1970) as Kommissar Canisius
  • The Invincible Six (1970) as Baron
  • Hello-Goodbye (1970) as Baron De Choisis
  • Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli (1970) as Konrad Johannsen
  • Cannabis (1970) as Henri Emery
  • The Mephisto Waltz (1971) as Duncan Mowbray Ely
  • Käpt'n Rauhbein aus St. Pauli (1971) as Käpt'n Markus Jolly
  • Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) as Käpt'n Markus Jolly
  • Fieras sin jaula (1971) as Ronald Marvelling
  • Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! (1971) as Grueningen
  • Wie bitte werde ich ein Held? (1972) as Russian general
  • Der Kommissar (TV) (1972-1973) as Harald Bergmann / Dr. Hochstätter
  • The Vault of Horror (1973) as Sebastian (segment 3 "This Trick'll Kill You")
  • Profession: Adventurers (1973) as Alvarez
  • Soft Beds, Hard Battles (1974) as General Von Grotjahn
  • Fall of Eagles (TV, 1974) as Otto von Bismarck
  • Radiografia di una Svastika (1974)
  • Cagliostro (1975) as Cardinal Braschi
  • Derrick – Season 2, episode 4: "Madeira" (1975) as Paul Bubach
  • Der zweite Frühling (1975) as Fox
  • Povero Cristo (1976) as Man Engaging Giorgio
  • Auch Mimosen wollen blühen (1976) as Josef Popov
  • Ab morgen sind wir reich und ehrlich (1976) as Senator Shelton
  • The Twist (1976) as Le bijoutier / Jeweller
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) as Karl Stromberg
  • Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo (1978) as Prince
  • Breakthrough (1979) as Gen. Hofmann
  • Missile X: The Neutron Bomb Incident (1979) (also known as Teheran Incident and Cruise Missile) as Baron Marchant
  • Goldengirl (1979) as Dr. Serafin
  • La lunga strada senza polvere (1979) as Cameo (uncredited)
  • La Gueule de l'autre (1979) as Wilfrid
  • Warum die UFOs unseren Salat klauen (1979) as UFO Commander
  • The Sleep of Death (1980) as Count St. Alyre
  • Teheran 43 (1981) as Maître Legraine
  • Smiley's People (BBC TV, 1982) as The General (Last appearance)


  2. "Curt Jurgens, War Films' Star" (Free Preview) The New York Times (subscription required)
  3. "The Man You'll Love to Hate" (Free Preview) The New York Times (subscription required)
  4. Karney, Robyn (1984). The Movie Stars Story. Outlet.
  5. Die Entführung aus dem Serail, 9 March 1981, Vienna State Opera
  6. Jürgens, Curd. … und kein bißchem weise, Munich, Droemer Knaur (1976). ISBN 3-85886-054-9.
  7. Sill, Oliver (1991). Zerbrochene Spiegel (in German). Walter de Gruyter. p. 227. ISBN 978-3-11-012697-6. Retrieved 8 May 2009. quoting Holba et al. Reclams deutsches Filmlexikon, Stuttgart 1984, p. 181, ISBN 978-3-15-010329-6
  8. "Curd Jürgens im Porträt" (in German). Hubert Burda. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
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