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Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Wir wollen niemals aus einander gehn!"

Heidi Rosemarie Brühl was a very famous German actress and singer. She was born in Gräfelfing near the Bavarian capital Munich on January 30th 1942. At the tender age of 5, she already took ballet courses. Around 1953, Heidi Brühl was discovered by movie director and producer Harald Braun. He gave her a small part in the 1954 film “Der Letzte Sommer” starring Liselotte Pulver. Her big break came one year later when she played the part of Dalli in the extremely popular German “Heimat”-movies situated on a farm and pony riding school called “Immenhof”. Over the next 20 years she would play the part in 4 more movies with the word “Immenhof” in it’s title. But enough is enough she must have thought, so she decided that she needed also an education and started to follow a 5 year course in singing, dancing and acting. During her school years, she also learned to speak fluently French and English, which would come in very handy at a later time in her career. Around 1959, having finished her eduction it was time to start her career anew. Like many child stars at that time growing into young women was not easy and their fathers had a big influence over them on their lives in general and their careers especially. With Heidi Brühl it was not different. Her father got her, after sending a demo to the Dutch record company “Philips”, a record deal.
First the record company linked her to another female singer called Corina Corten as the “Dolly Sisters” but that was not a very good idea and was quickly put on hold. In the same year of 1959 Heidi Brühl started then a solo career with the single”Chico Chico Charlie”. As a singer she became very successfull during most of the sexties untill around 1967. In Germany, she was called the German "Doris Day". In 1960 she entered the German pre-selections of the “European Song Contest” with the song “Wir wollen niemals aus einander gehn!”. She didn’t make to the finals that year but three years later in 1963 she tried again and was selected to represent her country at the song contest. At the end of the evening, Heidi Brühl ranked on place 9 which was a big disappointment for her. The same year at 21 her father, who was also her manager, suddenly died. This event had a profound impact on her life and career. Untill then her father decided which parts in movies to take and which friends to see and meet. But the biggest surpise for her was that after his death he left her with a heap of debts. Heidi Brühl saw no other option than to leave Germany in 1964 and start another career in another land: Italy. Like so many actors and actresses before and after her Italy was at moment in time the promised land for creative people. During her stay in Rom she met a young and very handsome American actor called "Brett Halsey", they fell in love and married a few months later. Brett Halsey already had a career in Hollywood but it was going nowhere so he also relocated to Rome and was now playing in dozens of spaghetti-westerns and adventure movies. Two children were born out of it: Clayton Alexander and Nicole.
After arriving in Rom in 1965 Marisa Mell got to know Heidi Brühl on the party circuit and through mutual friends like Helmut Berger. They soon became very good friends and had a lot of fun during the parties. During her stay in Rome and Italy, Heidi Brühl never made an Italian movie. It was enough to be the wife of the actor Brett Halsey. In 1970, Heidi Brühl was diagnosed with stomach cancer but she survived after surgery and in the same year Brett Halsey took his wife with him back to the USA. In Las Vegas at the Dunes Hotel she did a concert series with Sammy Davis Junior for 1 year. On TV in 1972 she did a episode of the crime series "Colombo" with Peter Falk. In 1976, the romance was over. Brett Halsey stayed in the USA, Heidi Brühl came back to Germany in 1977 to start het own music publishing company. In 1981 and 1982 her singing career took off again and she had again some modest success in the music business. This time her songs were in English and not in German.
In 1976, Heidi Brühl wrote her autobiography called "Eine kühle Blonde, bitte". The book was published by the Austrian publisher "Molden" with there offices situated in Vienna, Austria. In the book she tells her history as a young girl getting started in the entertainment business and all the hardship she had to endure by being famous in Germany. The title of the book, meaning "A cool blond, please" refers to the much used sentence in Germany for ordering a blond beer.

Although Heide Brühl left Italy to live in the USA, and then after the divorce returning back to Germany, she still kept in touch with Marisa Mell. So it was only natural that when the book was being published to send her friend a copy of it with a special dedication for Marisa Mell.

The text in the book reads: "Liebe Marisa! Herzliche Grüsse. Deine Heidi Brühl". (Dear Marisa! Best wishes, your Heidi Brühl)

But that is not all! Heidi Brühl wanted to be sure that the book with dedication got to Marisa Mell in person so she asked their mutual friend Helmut Berger to deliver the book directly to her. Helmut wrote on an index card "Liebe Marisa, letzte Woche besuchte mich Heidi in meiner Münchener Wohnung. Anbei Ihr Buch nebst Widmung. Herzliche Grüsse, Helmut."(Dear Marisa, last week I got a visit from Heidi in my Munich house. Enclosed her book with dedication. Best wishes, Helmut.)

In 1991, Heidi Brühl was again diagnosed with cancer, this time breast cancer. Again she needed surgery but now she did not survive and died on the operating table on June 8th 1991, several months before the death of Marisa Mell on May 16th 1992.


Keith said...

Hey Mirko. Wow! I really enjoyed this post. Great write-up. I really didn't know anything about Heidi at all. I felt like I got to know her a little better. I really love that first picture of her. Very hot. Hope you had a great weekend. Cheers! Keith

Mirko di Wallenberg said...

Hi Keith, yes, I found it also a very sexy picture of her especially because of the way it was taken! Rather unusual for the time period but also for Germany at that time!