Curt Goetz

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Curt Goetz
Kurt Walter Götz

(1888-11-17)17 November 1888
Died12 September 1960(1960-09-12) (aged 71)
OccupationActor, director, writer

Curt Goetz (German: [kʊʁt ɡœt͡s] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 17 November 1888 – 12 September 1960), born Kurt Walter Götz, was a Swiss German writer, actor and film director. He was regarded[ by whom? ] as one of the most brilliant German comedy writers of his time. With his wife Valérie von Martens, he acted in his own plays and also filmed them. He was a distant relative of Irish writer George Bernard Shaw, to whom he was often compared.[ by whom? ]


Life and work

Curt Goetz with Leopoldine Konstantin (1917) Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2008-0128-502, Leopoldine Konstantin und Kurt Gotz.jpg
Curt Goetz with Leopoldine Konstantin (1917)

Goetz was born in Mainz, Germany the son of Swiss wine examiner Bernhard Götz and his German wife of Italian-French descent, Selma (born Rocco). His father died in 1890. Two-year-old Curt and his mother then moved to Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, where she managed a private clinic.

In 1906 Goetz graduated from City High School in Halle, [1] where he played Franz Moor in The Robbers by Schiller.

His mother remarried, and his stepfather encouraged and financed Goetz's first steps in the theatre. [2] He studied acting under Berlin's Emanuel Reicher. In 1907 he made his stage debut at the Stadttheater in Rostock, and wrote his first sketches for the stage. He played at theatres in Nuremberg, then went to Berlin. [3] In 1912 he played the lead in the silent movie Black Blood, directed by Harry Piel.

In 1914 he married Erna Nitter; they divorced in 1917. He continued acting in silent movies, mainly comedies such as Ich möchte kein Mann sein (I Don't Want To Be A Man, 1918), directed by Ernst Lubitsch. One of his colleagues from that time was actor Max Landa.

In 1923 he married Valérie von Martens in Berlin, whom he met while acting in Vienna, and they toured together, acting in his own productions.

Statue of Curt Goetz in Halle, by Michael Weihe Curt-Goetz-Denkmal.jpg
Statue of Curt Goetz in Halle, by Michael Weihe

In 1939 he went to Hollywood to study filmmaking, and decided to remain there, with Valérie, when war broke out. He worked with director Reinhold Schunzel and others, and several of his comedies become films. He was signed by MGM [4] and worked on a number of film scripts. He and Valérie bought a farm in Van Nuys, California, where they successfully bred chickens. [5]

In California, Goetz drafted his tale Tatjana and a new version of his Hokuspokus. He also reworked an older play into The House in Montevideo , which he successfully produced in Broadway's Playhouse Theatre in 1945.

The Goetzes returned to Europe in 1945, living in Switzerland by Lake Thun (Goetz had Swiss nationality from birth), where he wrote some successful novels. They later moved to Liechtenstein.

Goetz died in Grabs, St. Gallen, on 12 September 1960.

Works (originally published in German)


Curt Goetz' and his wife's grave Goetz-grab.JPG
Curt Goetz' and his wife's grave



Other works





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  1. Goetz, Curt (1960). Die Memoiren des Peterhans von Binningen (in German). Berlin: Grunewald. p. 11.
  2. Goetz, Curt (1960). Die Memoiren des Peterhans von Binningen (in German). Berlin: Grunewald. p. 55.
  3. Goetz, Curt (1960). Die Memoiren des Peterhans von Binningen (in German). Berlin: Grunewald. p. 239.
  4. Gertraud Steiner Daviau (April 2005). "Austrian Writers and the Unifying Aspects of Cultures". TRANS Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  5. von Martens, Valérie (1972). Curt's Geschichten, Kurzgeschichten von und über Curt Goetz (in German). Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. ISBN   978-3-423-01052-8.