Willy Fritsch

Willy Fritsch (27 January 1901 – 13 July 1973) was a German theater and film actor, the popular leading man in German silent motion-pictures. He was born Wilhelm Egon Fritz Fritsch, the son of a factory owner in Kattowitz (present-day Katowice) in the Prussian province of Silesia. After the bankruptcy of his father in 1912, the family moved to Berlin, where Fritsch sen. worked as an employee of the Siemens-Schuckert company. Young Willy originally planned an apprenticeship as a mechanic, but soon resorted to the occupation as an extra at the Großes Schauspielhaus theatre. From 1919 he attended Max Reinhardt's drama school at the Deutsches Theater, where he debuted with small roles, and made his feature debut in films as a supporting player in 1921's Miß Venus. Fritsch remained a popular juvenile figure in films and the theater, but his real success came after being paired with Lilian Harvey in 1928, when they appeared regularly together in UFA movies like Der Kongreß tanzt (Congress Dances) by Erik Charell, released every year thereafter until Harvey's emigration in 1939.


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