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Karlheinz Böhm
Karlheinz Böhm in Peeping Tom 1960
Born (1928-03-16)16 March 1928
Darmstadt, Hesse-Nassau, Weimar Republic
Died 29 May 2014(2014-05-29) (aged 86)
Grödig, Salzburg, Austria
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–2014
Elisabeth Zonewa
(m. 1954; div. 1957)

Gudula Blau
(m. 1958; div. 1962)

Barbara Lass
(m. 1963; div. 1980)

Almaz Böhm
(m. 1991)
Children 7, including Katharina Böhm

Karlheinz Böhm (16 March 1928 – 29 May 2014), sometimes referred to as Carl Boehm or Karl Boehm, was an Austrian-German actor and philanthropist. He took part in 45 films and became well known in Austria and Germany for his role as Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in the Sissi trilogy and internationally for his role as Mark, the psychopathic character of Peeping Tom, directed by Michael Powell. He was the founder of the trust Menschen für Menschen (“Humans for Humans”), which helps people in need in Ethiopia. He also received honorary Ethiopian citizenship in 2003. Böhm died from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Grödig, Austria, aged 86.

Early life

Handprints in the Lloyd Passage in Bremen

Born on the 16 of March 1928 in Darmstadt, Germany, Böhm was the son of Austrian conductor Karl Böhm and German-born soprano Thea Linhard. He was an only child, and spent his youth in Darmstadt, Hamburg and Dresden. In Hamburg he attended elementary school and the Kepler-Gymnasium (a grammar school).

Faked papers (claiming he had a lung disease) enabled him to emigrate to Switzerland in 1939, just around the beginning of World War II, where he attended the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, a boarding school. In 1946, he moved to Graz with his parents, where he graduated from high school the same year. He originally intended to become a pianist but received poor feedback when he auditioned. His father urged him to study English and German language and literary studies, followed by studies of history of arts for one semester in Rome after which he quit and returned to Vienna to take acting lessons.

Acting career

Böhm Stern enthüllen
Karlheinz Böhm, founder of several relief organizations, gets his own star on the "boulevard of humanity" at the Fernwehpark in Hof

Briefly, in the early 1960s, Böhm worked in the American film and television industry. He played Jakob Grimm in the MGM-Cinerama spectacular The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and Ludwig van Beethoven in the Walt Disney film The Magnificent Rebel. The latter film was made especially for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color television anthology series, but it was released theatrically in Europe. He appeared in a villainous role as the Nazi-sympathizing son of Paul Lukas in the MGM film Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (all 1962), a remake of the 1921 silent Rudolph Valentino film.

Böhm's voice acting work included narrating his father's 1975 recording of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev and in 2009 providing the German voice for Charles Muntz, villain in Pixar's tenth animated feature Up.

Charitable work

Salzburger Kommunalfriedhof - Grabstätte Karlheinz Böhm (5)
Salzburg municipal cemetery, tomb of Karlheinz Böhm

In November 1981, Böhm founded Menschen für Menschen (Humans for Humans) and involved in charitable work in Ethiopia. He largely retired from acting in the 1980s for his project. Until today, Menschen für Menschen built over 400 schools, 2000 fountains and over 5 million people benefit from their work.

Böhm received honorary Ethiopian citizenship in 2003. In 2007 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood among Peoples. In 2011 Karlheinz Böhm and his wife Almaz were awarded the Essl Social Prize for the project Menschen für Menschen.

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