Curd Jürgens



Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens (13 December 1915 – 18 June 1982) was a German- Austrian theatre and film actor. In English-language films he usually appeared as Curt Jurgens. He was best known for his role as Ernst Udet in Des Teufels General. His English-language roles include James Bond’s villain Carl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Eric Carradine in And God Created Woman (1956) and Professor Immanuel Rath in The Blue Angel (1959).

Early life

Jurgen was born on 13 December 1915 in the municipality of Soln, Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire. His father, Kurt, was a merchant from Hamburg and his mother, Marie-Albertine, was a French teacher. He had two older twin sisters, Jeanette and Marguerite. He began his professional career as a journalist before becoming an actor at the urging of his actress wife, Louise Busler. He spent much of his early career on the Vienna stage. He spent much of his early career on the Vienna stage. Due to serious injuries sustained in a car accident in the summer of 1933, he was unable to have children.

Jurgen was critical of Nazism in his native Germany. In 1944, after filming Wiener Mädeln, he argued with Robert Kaltenbrunner (brother of high-ranking Austrian SS officer Ernst Kaltenbrunner), SS- Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny and a member of Baldur von Schirach’s staff in a Viennese bar without knowing who they were. After this event, Jürgens was sent to a labour camp for the “politically unreliable” in Hungary. After a few weeks he managed to escape and went into hiding. Jürgen became an Austrian citizen after the war.


Jürgen went on to play soldiers in many war films. Notable performances in this vein include his screen role in Des Teufels General (1955, The Devil’s General), a fictionalized portrayal of World War I flying ace and Luftwaffe general in World War II Ernst Udet, followed by Roger Vadim’s Et Dieu… créa la femme (And God created woman) starring Brigitte Bardot.

Jürgen’s first Hollywood film was The Enemy Below (1957), in which he played a German submarine captain. In 1962, he played the German general Günther Blumentritt in The Longest Day (1962). Later, in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), he played the villain Karl Stromberg, a sociopathic industrialist who tries to turn the world into an oceanic paradise. His last film appearance was as Maître Legraine, alongside Alain Delon and Claude Jade in the spy thriller Tehran 43 (1981). On 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).

Jürgen’s grave in Vienna’s main cemetery

Although he appeared in more than 100 films, Jürgen was also a notable theatre actor. He was a member of several theatres in Vienna (Volkstheater 1938-1941, Burgtheater 1940-1953 and 1965- 1968, etc.). He played the title role in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival from 1973 to 1977 – arguably the most prominent role for a German-speaking male actor. In 1966 he appeared in a brief performance on Broadway, at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, opposite Geraldine Page, directed by George Schaefer.

His last theatrical appearance was with the Vienna State Opera on 9 March 1981 as Bassa Selim in Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He also directed a few films with limited success, e.g. Bankraub in der Rue Latour, and wrote screenplays, e.g. Bonus on Death.

In 1976 he called his memoirs … und kein bißchen weise (And not at all wise).

Jürgens provided the German voice of the journalist in the 1980 German dubbing of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds.

Private life

Jürgen kept a house in France, but often returned to Vienna to perform on stage. He died there of a heart attack on 18 June 1982. He had suffered a heart attack several years earlier. During it he had a near-death experience, during which he claimed to have died and gone to hell. Jurgens was buried in Vienna’s central cemetery.

He was 1.92 m tall. Brigitte Bardot called him “the Normandy wardrobe man” during their collaboration on the film Et Dieu… créa la femme.

In the summer of 1957 Jürgen had a brief but intense relationship with actress Romy Schneider.

Jürgens was married to Lulu Basler, actress (15 June 1937 – 8 October 1947) (divorced)

Judith Holzmeister (16 October 1947 – 1955) (divorced)

Eva Bartok (13 August 1955 – 1956) (divorced).[15].

Simone Bicheron (14 September 1958 – 1977) (divorced)

Margie Schmitz (21 March 1978 – 18 June 1982) (death)


Partial filmography

Königswalzer (1935) as Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria (Jürgens’ first film)

Family Parade (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’ friend

Tango Notturno (1937) as Jac’s friend, musician (uncredited)

The Girl of Last Night (1938) as Die drei Attachés (uncredited)

Salonwagen E 417 [de] (1939) as Prinz Heinrich Karl

Weltrekord im Seitensprung (1940) as Peter Enderlein, Kapellmeister

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 not angels (1943) as Bandini

Ein glücklicher Mensch (1943) as Petersen

Ein Blick zurück [de] (1944) as Dr. Erich Thienwiebel

Eine kleine Sommermelodie (1944) as Wolfgang Schwab

The Singing House (1948) as Hans Storch, orchestra leader

Hin und her [de] (1948) as Prinz Bernardo

The Angel with the Trumpet (1948) as Graf Leopold Thraun

On Resonant Shores (1948) as Stefan Keller

The Heavenly Waltz (1948) as Clemens M. Weidenauer

Verlorenes Rennen [de] (1948) as George Miller

Das Kuckucksei (1949) as Dr. Kurt Walla

Lambert Feels Threatened (1949) as Kommissar Roland

Hexen [de] (1949) as Heinz Wagner

Βιεννέζικα κορίτσια (1949) as Graf Lechenberg

Bonus on Death (1950) as Gunarson, opera tenor

Der Schuß durchs Fenster (1950)

Kissing Is No Sin (1950) as Kammersänger Felix Alberti

The Disturbed Wedding Night (1950) as Lawrence Vinning

A Rare Lover (1950) as Sascha Borotraz

Ein Lächeln im Sturm [de] (1951) as Jean Langrand

Das Geheimnis einer Ehe [de] (1951) as conductor Felix Adrian

Der schweigende Mund [de] (1951) as architect Reinhold

Gangsterpremiere [de] (1951) as Kommissar

House of Life (1952) as Axel Jolander

Knall and Fall as Imposters (1952) as John Vandergold

1. Απρίλιος 2000 (1952) as Capitano Herakles

Rose of the Mountain (1952) as composer Jack Long

Praterherzen [de] (1953) as Toni Brandstetter

They Call It Love (1953) as Peter Malmö

Music by Night (1953) as Hans Kersten

The Last Waltz (1953) as Rittmeister Graf Sarassow

Everything for Father (1953) as Clemens Haberland

Meines Vaters Pferde I. Teil Lena und Nicoline [de] (1954) as Pat

A Woman of Today (1954) as Heinz Bender

Circus of Love (1954) as Toni

Prisoners of Love (1954) as Willi Kluge

Orient Express (1954) as Bate

The Confession of Ina Kahr (1954) as Paul Kahr

Du bist die Richtige [de] (1955) as Stefan Selby

Des Teufels General (1955) as General Harry Harras

Love without illusions (1955) as Walter

Die Ratten (1955) as Bruno Mechelke

Heroes and Sinners (1955) as Wolf Gerke

Du mein stilles Tal [de] (1955) as Gerd

Devil in Silk (1956) as Thomas Ritter

The Golden Bridge (1956) as Balder

Without You All Is Darkness (1956) as Dr. Robert Kessler

And God Created Woman (1956) as Eric Carradine

The House of Intrigue (Ιταλικά: 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 Captain Lin Nan

Der Schinderhannes (1958) as Johann ‘Schinderhannes’ Bückler

Le vent se lève [fr] (1959) as Eric Muller

Ferry to Hong Kong (1959) as Mark Bertram Conrad

The Blue Angel (1959) ως καθηγητής Immanuel Rath

Magnificent Sinner (1959) as Tsar Alexander II

I Aim at the Stars (1960) as Wernher von Braun

Brainwashing (1960) as Werner von Basil

Gustav Adolf’s Page (1960) as king Gustav Adolf

Bankraub in der Rue Latour (1961) as Cliff MacHardy

Girl in a Suitcase (1961) as Rich Guy in Boat (uncredited)

The Triumph of Michael 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

Three Penny Opera [de] (1963) as Captain Macheath

Miracle of the White Stallions (1963) as General Tellheim

Of Love and Desire (1963) as Paul Beckmann

Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1963) as Hugo Falsen

Hide and Seek (1964) as Hubert Marek

Meeting in Salzburg (1964) as Hans Wilke, General Manager

Les Parias de la gloire (1964) as Ludwig Goetz

Psyche 59 (1964) as Eric Crawford

DM-Killer [de] (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 Tsar Alexander I

Target for Killing (1966) as Gérard van Looch / Giant

The Gardener of Argenteuil (1966) as The Baron

Dirty Heroes (1967) as General Edwin von Keist

The Karate Killers (1967) as Carl von Kessen

Der Lügner und die Nonne [de] (1967) as Cardinal

OSS 117 – Double Agent (1968) as Il Maggiore

The Doctor of St. Pauli (1968) as Dr. Jan Diffring

Babeck [de] (1968, TV mini-series) as Babeck

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

Slap in the Face (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

The Priest of 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 [de] (1971) as Captain Markus Jolly

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) as the German consul in Switzerland

Fieras sin jaula (1971) as Ronald Marvelling

Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! (1971) as Grueningen

À la guerre comme à la guerre [fr] (1972) as a Russian general

Der Kommissar (TV) (1972-1973) as Harald Bergmann / Dr. Hochstätter

The Vault of Horror (1973) as Sebastian (part 3 “This Trick’ll Kill You”)

Profession: Alvarez (1973) as Alvarez

Soft Beds, Hard Fights (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 [de] (1975) as Fox

Povero Cristo [it] (1975) as Man Engaging Giorgio

The Mimosa Wants to Blossom Too (1976) as Josef Popov

Ab morgen sind wir reich und ehrlich [de] (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 General Hofmann

Missile X: The Neutron Bomb Incident (1979) (also known as Tehran Incident and Cruise Missile) as Baron Marchant

Goldengirl (1979) as Dr. Serafin

La lunga strada senza polvere [it] (1979) as Cameo (uncredited)

La Gueule de l’autre (1979) as Wilfrid

Warum die UFOs unseren Salat klauen [de] (1979) as UFO Commander

The Sleep of Death (1980) as Count St. Alyre

Teheran 43 (1981) as Maître Legraine

Collin [de] (TV movie, 1981) as Hans Collin

Smiley’s People (BBC TV, 1982) as General Vladimir (last film role)