Gründgens, Gustav

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gründgens, Gustav


Born Dec. 22, 1899, in Düsseldorf; died Oct. 7, 1963, in Manila. German actor and director.

Gründgens made his debut in 1918. From 1922 he was an actor and director of the Hamburg Kammerspiele Theater.

From 1928 to 1932 he worked at the German Theater in Berlin. In 1932 he became intendant (manager) of the Berlin State Theater and in 1937, general intendant of the Prussian State Theater. In 1946–47 he acted and staged performances at the Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater in Berlin. In the Federal Republic of Germany he managed theaters in Düsseldorf from 1947 to 1955 and from 1955 to 1963, the German Dramatic Theater in Hamburg.

Gründgens’ artistic career is marked by a lack of political principles and ideological conviction. He staged both potboilers like the plays of B. Mussolini and a series of rather significant performances of classics of the drama. He put on Shakespeare’s King Lear (1934) and Twelfth Night (1937, playing the part of Malvolio) and Chekhov’s The Sea Gull (1948, performing the role of Trigorin); he acted Vorob’ev in Rakhmanov’s Restless Old Age (1946), staged The Shadow by Shvarts (1947), and turned his attention to Brecht (Saint Joan of the Stockyards, 1959). He also directed a number of operas. His acting roles include Mephistopheles (in Goethe’s Faust), Hamlet (in Shakespeare’s tragedy), Franz Moor and Wallenstein (in Schiller’s The Robbers and The Death of Wallenstein), and others. In 1959, Gründgens toured the USSR with the German Dramatic Theater.


Wirklichkeit des Theaters. Frankfurt am Main, 1953.


Mühr, A. Grosses Theater: Begegnungen mit G. Gründgens. Berlin, 1950.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.