FemBio-Special: Famous Women from Hanover, Germany

Lucie Höflich

also available in German

Born 20 February 1883 in Hannover
Died 9 October 1956 in Berlin

German actress, teacher and professor of acting, head of the Staatliche Schauspielschule (State Acting School) in Berlin

125th birthday on 20 February 2008


Lucie Höflich made her acting début at sixteen at the Bromberg City Theater, moved in 1901 to the Intime Theater in Nürnberg, and was hired the following year by the Raimund-Theater in Vienna, where she quickly made a name for herself. In 1903 the famous Max Reinhardt called Höflich to his Deutsches Theater in Berlin.

Höflich’s first marriage (1910 – 1917) produced a daughter, Ursula (*1911).

FrauenbildHöflich appeared in many European countries on her tours with Reinhardt. In 1913 she acted in a film for the first time. Before 1933 her shifting engagements brought her to various Berlin theaters (Preußisches Staatstheater, Reinhardt’s Theaters).

For a time she was married to Emil Jannings. In 1932/33 Lucie Höflich worked in Hamburg. With Ilka Grüning she headed the Staatliche Schauspielschule (State Acting Academy) in Berlin in 1933/34, and from 1936 on had her own studio for training young actors and actresses at the Volksbühne.

FrauenbildIn 1937 Höflich was named a Staatschauspielerin and temporarily ended her active stage career. Her biographies claim that she refused to appear on a German stage after the Nazi seizure of power. But a conflict with her growing film career seems more likely than a protest motivated by conscience: in the years 1934 to 1943 alone she acted in eighteen films, among them the National Socialist propaganda film Ohm Krüger.

From 1946 to 1950 Höflich was theater director, actress, play director and head of the acting school at the Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater in Schwerin. In the acting school young talent was groomed for study at national acting academies. Many of these young actors and actresses would later become internationally known. In 1946 Lucie Höflich became an honorary member of the Deutsches Theater, and in 1947 a professor.

FrauenbildAfter 1950 she resided in Berlin, where she acted on the stage and taught at the acting academy. But she suffered greatly from age-related afflictions which hindered her in her work. In 1953 she was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Medal of Honor, Germany’s only order of merit). Höflich died, presumably from the after-effects of a heart attack, at age 73.

Lucie Höflich was an important pillar of the Reinhardt-Theater and attained the high point of her fame around 1920 as a great realistic character actress. Her acting artistry was marked by naturalness and high intensity despite minimal physical gestures and a restrained vitality with sudden outbursts. Many prominent actors and actresses were successfully trained by Höflich, among them Marianne Hoppe, Otto and Eberhard Mellies, Inge Meysel, Lilli Palmer and Annemarie Wendl.

transl. Joey Horsley

Almut Nitzsche

Angrick, Dieter W. (14.10.2004): Wer war eigentlich … Lucie Höflich.

Burgmer, Rolf (1972): Höflich (eigtl. von Holwede), Lucie. In: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. (Hg.): Neue deutsche Biographie. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot (9), S. 316.

Deutsches Filminstitut (DIF) (26.01.2007)

Ehrenkrook, Hans Friedrich von: Die Familie von Holwede. Eine niedersächsische Beamtenfamilie. In: Familiengeschichtliche Blätter, Jg. 29, S. 129–140.

Erinnerung an Lucie Höflich. In: Der Reiter. Wochenzeitung in der Landeshauptstadt Schwerin, Ausgabe 3/1996, S. 11.

Grewolls, Günter: Lucie Höflich. 110. Geburtstag. In: Impuls. Zeitung des Mecklenburgischen Staatstheaters Schwerin, Ausgabe 1/1993, S. 8.

Kulturportal Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Hg.) (26.01.2007): Historische Personen. Lucie Höflich. MVweb GmbH & Co. KG.

Lucie Höflich | THG Lexikon.

May, Gisela (1976): Lucie Höflich. In: May, Gisela: Mit meinen Augen. Begegnungen und Impressionen. Berlin: Buchverlag Der Morgen, S. 34–40.

NDB (1997): Höflich, Lucie. In: Killy, Walther; Engelhardt, Dietrich von; Vierhaus, Rudolf (Hg.): Hesselbach - Kofler. München: Saur (Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie, Bd. 5), S. 91.

Schellmann, Brigitte. “Lucie Höflich”

Staedeli, Thomas (25.02.2005): Porträt der Schauspielerin Lucie Höflich.

Zänger, Horst (2005): Lucie Höflich gründete eine Schauspielschule. In: Zänger, Horst: 170 Jahre Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater Schwerin. Aus dem Theaterleben. Schwerin: Selbstverlag, S. 103–109.

Acting students of Lucie Höflich (selection)
Dieter Dorn (*1935), director
Irmgard Düren (1930 – 2004), GDR TV-host (Wünsch dir was, Wunschbriefkasten)
Marianne Hoppe (1909 – 2002), actress
Claus Jurichs (1935 – 2005), actor
Evelyn Künneke (1921– 2001), singer, actress, entertainer
Günter Lamprecht (* 1930), actor
Gisela May (*1924), actress
Eberhard Mellies (*1929), actor
Otto Mellies (* 1931), actor
Inge Meysel (1910 – 2004), actress
Lilli Palmer (1914 – 1986), actress
Annemarie Wendl (1914 – 2006), actress (u. a. Lindenstraße)

Filmography
1913 Gendarm Möbius
1919 Freie Liebe
1919 Maria Magdalene
1920 Der langsame Tod. Die nach Liebe schmachten
1920 Katharina die Große
1920/1921 Die Bestie im Menschen
1921 Die Erbin von Tordis
1921 Die Ratten
1921 Seefahrt ist Not
1922/1923 Ein Glas Wasser
1922/1923 Nora
1923 Der verlorene Schuh
1923 Die Straße
1923/1924 Der geheime Agent
1923/1924 Kaddisch
1925 Das Haus der Lüge
1925 Ein Walzertraum
1925 Götz von Berlichingen zubenannt mit der eisernen Hand
1925 Tartüff
1926 Bara en danserska
1927 Das gefährliche Alter
1927 Manege
1927/1928 Der Biberpelz
1930 “1914”. Die letzten Tage vor dem Weltbrand
1932 Der weiße Dämon
1932 Kampf
1932 Strafsache van Geldern. Willi Vogel, der Ausbrecherkönig
1932/1933 Brennendes Geheimnis
1934 Peer Gynt
1935 Der Kurier des Zaren
1935/1936 Der Raub der Sabinerinnen
1936 Fridericus
1936 Schatten der Vergangenheit
1937 Der Berg ruft
1937 Die Warschauer Zitadelle
1937 Manege
1937 Starke Herzen
1938 War es der im 3. Stock?
1939 Robert Koch, der Bekämpfer des Todes
1939 Wir tanzen um die Welt
1939/1940 Der Fuchs von Glenarvon
1941 Ohm Krüger
1941/1942 Das große Spiel
1942 Weiße Wäsche
1942/1943 Altes Herz wird wieder jung
1942/1943 Lache Bajazzo
1955 Himmel ohne Sterne
1956/1957 Anastasia, die letzte Zarentochter

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Hedwig Dohm