|ACTOR, POET, COMEDIAN (LATVIA)|
BORN 20 Feb 1909, Riga - DIED 5 Jun 1979, Hamburg|
GRAVE LOCATION Hamburg: Ohlsdorfer Friedhof (BI66 (605-606))
Hein Erhardt grew up in Riga. From 1919 until 1924 he lived in Hanover and them from 1924 until 1926 again in Riga. From 1926 until 1928 he studied music in Leipzig, but his wish to become a pianist wasn't supported by his family.
From 1928 until 1938 he sold piano's and sheet music in Riga. In 1935 he married Gilda Zanetti, the daughter of a consul. They had four children. In 1938 Willi Schaeffers took him to the Kabarett der Komiker in Berlin. During the Second World War he was twice called for the army but then refused because he wore glasses and he couldn't swim. The third time he was sent to Stralsund where the navy needed a pianist.
After the war he moved to Hamburg with his family where he presented radio shows for the NWDR. During the fifties and sixties he became widely known because he played in many movies, where he often portrayed a friendly father or uncle talking a lot of nonsense, like in the "Willi" films. He was also known for his funny poems.
Erhardt was afraid of performing on the stage before a public. When he had to do this he often wore dark glasses that hid the public from his view and he took a stiff drink before he went onstage. This was usually a 'doppelter Doornkaat', which he called 'Dodo'. He tried to hide this habit from his wife.
On 11 Dec 1971 he suffered a stroke and afterwards he was able to read and understand people, but he couldn't talk or write anymore. He retired and died in 1979 four days after he received the Große Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.