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|Died||3 May 1998 58) (aged|
Raimund Harmstorf (7 October 1939– 3 May 1998) was a German actor. He became famous as the protagonist of a German TV mini series based on Jack London's the Sea-Wolf (which was sold into many countries) and starred later on successfully in another German TV series based on Jules Verne's Michael Strogoff.
Harmstorf was the son of a doctor from Hamburg. He started a sports career and soon became a regional master of the decathlon. He then studied medicine, later music and performing arts. From the beginning of the 1960s he started performing in smaller TV productions. His breakthrough was in 1971 with the TV series The Sea-Wolf , based on Jack London's novel, where he played the evil-minded Captain Larsen. Later he played in several spaghetti westerns along with Bud Spencer, Franco Nero and Charlton Heston.
Toward the end of his career he was affected by Parkinson's disease and weakened by a regimen of heavy medication. His illness and vulnerability was greatly exploited by the tabloids. He committed suicide by hanging himself.His death caused a scandal.
German tabloids were investigated; German police consequently stated that Harmstorf's suicide had been substantially promoted by certain articles.In particular Bild was blamed because Bild had already published Harmstorf's suicide on its main page before his actual death. Harmstorf's girlfriend confirmed that the actor had obviously already been dismayed after he had read this article, even before the news had been partly quoted on Germany's popular TV channel RTL Television.
The following is a selection of Harmstorf's roles in film:
The Sea-Wolf is a 1904 psychological adventure novel by American writer Jack London. The book's protagonist, Humphrey Van Weyden, is a literary critic who is a survivor of an ocean collision and who comes under the dominance of Wolf Larsen, the powerful and amoral sea captain who rescues him. Its first printing of forty thousand copies was immediately sold out before publication on the strength of London's previous The Call of the Wild. Ambrose Bierce wrote, "The great thing—and it is among the greatest of things—is that tremendous creation, Wolf Larsen... the hewing out and setting up of such a figure is enough for a man to do in one lifetime... The love element, with its absurd suppressions, and impossible proprieties, is awful."
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