Herbert Köfer: “At some point it’s over”

His life was a stage: for over 80 years he stood on stages that mean the world, acted in TV and movie films. Photo: imago

Herbert Köfer was not afraid of death. “All I know is that I can’t go on like this forever. At some point, it’s over, ”said the popular actor in an interview with Kurier, when he turned 100 in February. The big celebration had to be canceled because of the Corona. But don’t worry, Köfer promised: “This summer I’m making up for my 100th birthday with a summer party.” Family, colleagues and friends were looking forward to it. Now, together with their fans, they mourn one of the country’s greatest actors. Whose heart stopped beating.

Also read: Part 1 of the KURIER series for Köfer’s 100th birthday: He conquers the world with his croup >>

On Sunday night, his wife Heike, 59, announced that her husband had fallen asleep peacefully the day before. Currently, it is very difficult for her to report what happened – the widow wrote to KURIERA on Monday. As soon as there is a funeral date, it will be announced.

Herbert Köfer with his wife Heike in front of the Schlosspark theater: The couple have been married for 20 years. Photo: imago / Photopress Müller

Herbert Köfer: His Heike was his great love

Heike and Herbert Köfer have been married for over 20 years. It was the artist’s third marriage, who had two children from two previous relationships: actress Miriam Köfer (48) and cinematographer Andreas Köfer (72). For Herbert Köfer, the third wife was the love of his life. “Heike is my second heart, my second memory, my everything,” he once said.

Close friends report that the situation has calmed down after Köfer’s 100th birthday. The man, who was also very active on Facebook, reported to the social network less frequently. Mario Behnke, 59, who has been organizing parties with Köfer for 20 years, reports to KURIER that the actor has reportedly been hospitalized twice in the last few months. “It can happen when you are Herbert’s age,” says Behnke. This was the case in 2018, when Köfer was given an artificial heart valve. “Aging is not for cowards,” said the star on his hundredth birthday. While he keeps fit on the home trainer, “gradually a wide variety of little things appear and sometimes bother you more and sometimes less.”

During the filming of the TV film “Krause’s Future” (2020): director Bernd Böhlich and Horst Krause congratulate Herbert Köfer on the 80th anniversary of his performance on stage. Photo: Heike Koefer

“No matter what happened: Herbert did everything he could to get back on stage,” said organizer Behnke. “Unfortunately, there is an end to every life. I will remember Herbert as a particularly good person, a great actor and a very dear friend. “

Also read: GDR star Angelika Mann: “Herbert Köfer deserved an Oscar” >>

“Everyone with Herbert thought that Köfer would last forever”

The news of Köfer’s death surprised everyone. “Of course, you have to reckon with the fact that one day the elderly will not be there anymore,” says director Bernd Böhlich (64) from KURIER. “Only with Herbert, everyone thought that Köfer would exist forever.”

Herbert Köfer from Carmen-Maja Antoni during the filming of the TV movie “Krause’s Future” in September 2020: The continuation of the series with both stars should be shot next winter. Photo: Heike Koefer

Just a few weeks ago, the creator and inventor of the series “Horst Krause” spoke on the phone with Köfer and his wife. “Herbert was delighted to have already written the first two scenes with him for Krause’s new movie, which is due for Christmas and is due to be shown on ARD in late 2022.”

Also read: Part 3 of the KURIER series for Köfer’s 100th birthday: The star that bears his name >>

Pictures with Köfer should start in January / February. Even at the age of 100, the artist did not retire, who was the oldest most active actor in the world until his death. “Horst Krause, the whole team was looking forward to Herbert Köfer,” says Böhlich. “Herbert will look down at us now. We will all miss this great actor. “

Last year, Köfer celebrated his 80th birthday during the filming of Krause’s Future, which was shown on the star’s 100th birthday. On September 11, 1940, the actor born in Prenzlauer Berg, at the age of 19, signed his first contract at the Stadttheater in Brieg (now Poland). His first role was the young “Old Fritz” in a play.

Herbert Köfer in his first role as heir to the throne of Friedrich in the stage play “Katte” at the Stadttheater Brieg. It was in September 1940, the actor was 19 years old. Photo: private archives / Kifer

Herbert Köfer was still planning a summer party

Köfer’s life was a stage. So his 100th birthday should now be celebrated as a summer party in the courtyard of the Ost Theater in Adlershof – just as Köfer announced. “In the place where he worked for decades,” says director Kathrin Schülein. Because their theater is located in the former GDR television building, which housed the “Aktuelle Kamera” studio, where Köfer began his television career in 1952 as the first news presenter. However, he only survived a week as a news presenter, and then became a member of the acting teams of East German Television.

Herbert Köfer and Franks Schöbel during the recording of the last New Year’s Eve program on East German television (1991): “My dear Herbert, you were and will remain my dear friend,” wrote Schöbel about his deceased actor friend. Photo: imago

Köfer is loved and appreciated for his legendary roles in the TV series “Retirees Never Have Time” (1978), “Tales of the Garden Fence” (1982) and “The Neumann Family” (1984). When the theater in Adlershof was opened years ago on the site of the former East German Television, the actor was always a welcome guest there, especially when he read from his biography “99 and not a little silent” on stage, for example Published in 2020 by Eulenspiegel-Verlag. “The legendary actor who has inspired many people is leaving us with Herbert Köfer,” says the head of Theater Ost, Schülein.

Helga Göring and Herbert Köfer: They were the stars of the GDR series “Retired people never have time”. Photo: GDR TV

Wolfgang Lippert: “Herbert, you were a wonderful man”

In reunified Germany, Köfer inspires not only people in the East. He can be seen in series such as “In aller Hoffnung” and he excels in the comedy “Pension Schöller”, in which for years he played the wonderfully mad host in the comedy on Kurfürstendamm. One of his most important films is Nude Among Wolves (1963). As an SS officer, Köfer proves that he can convince audiences also in serious roles.

Actor Herbert Köfer and moderator Wolfgang Lippert are learning the text: “I will miss your warmth very much,” writes Lippert of his deceased friend. Photo: Imago / Koehler

The sadness for Köfer is great. “My dear friend, you have been one of the best colleagues and a wonderful person. I will miss you so much, I will miss your warmth so much, ”explains artist Wolfgang Lippert (69), who was a close friend of Köfer. “Say it Herbert,” writes Angelika “Lütte” Mann (72) on Facebook. Schlager star Frank Schöbel (78) says goodbye to Köfer: “Your faithful soul has always been dependable. You were and will remain – my dear friend. Pop singer Bernhard Brink (69) paid tribute to the deceased on Facebook: “What a career – what a life – 100 years! Herbert, your scene is different now.

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