Heinrich Gretler

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Heinrich Gretler (1939) as " Wachtmeister Studer " in the film of the same name
The Heinrich-Gretler-Weg in Zurich- Oerlikon
Heinrich Gretler's grave

Heinrich Gretler (born October 1, 1897 in Zurich - Hottingen ; † September 30, 1977 there ) was a Swiss actor . For several decades, Gretler was one of the most famous actors in German-speaking countries.


Gretler was the third child of chemical laboratory technician Heinrich Gretler and his wife Verona. He attended primary and secondary school in Zurich from 1902 to 1912. From 1912 to 1915 he received training at the Küsnacht teacher training college. From 1916 to 1918 he was first a country school teacher, then a private teacher.

Gretler, who had his first acting experience through appearances in amateur theater, took acting and singing lessons from Josef Dannegger . He began his career in 1918 as a tenor buffo at the Stadttheater Zürich , where he worked until 1926. In autumn 1919 he got an engagement at the Zurich Pfauenbühne .

After his first film appearance as Landenberg in The Origin of the Confederation , a film about Wilhelm Tell , he went to Berlin in 1926 . He subsequently appeared there in various small roles and initially played at the Lustspielhaus am Halleschen Ufer, then from 1928 to 1930 at the Volksbühne and finally at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm . In the spring of 1933 he undertook a tour to Paris and London with the play Das kleine Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht .

After the National Socialists seized power in Germany, he returned to Zurich and played at Cabaret Cornichon in 1933 , to which he was a member from 1935 to 1940. From 1933 to 1935 and again from 1938 to 1945 he worked again at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, in between he made guest appearances as a freelance actor on numerous Swiss theaters.

At this time Gretler acquired the reputation of a «Swiss Jannings», he took on the title roles of Wilhelm Tell , Nathan the Wise , Götz von Berlichingen with the Iron Hand , Captain von Köpenick , he played Falstaff , Fuhrmann Henschel (after Gerhart Hauptmann ) and the role of the village judge Adam in The Broken Jug .

During the Second World War he also took part in several Swiss feature films that were made in the spirit of national defense , for example in Füsilier Wipf and Landammann Stauffacher .

One of his best-known roles is the embodiment of the title character of Wachtmeister Studer in two novel adaptations based on Friedrich Glauser : Wachtmeister Studer and Matto reigns .

After the end of the war he intensified his film activities and rarely appeared on stage. Above all , Gretler was regularly seen in numerous German homeland films of the 1950s - albeit often in supporting roles. He became known to a wider audience through his portrayal of Alpöhi in Heidi (1952) and Heidi and Peter (1955) and as father Kohlhiesel in the comedy Kohlhiesels Töchter (1962). In 1963 he returned to Switzerland and worked mainly as a television actor. His last role was in 1977 that of Pope Albert IV in The Day the Pope Was Kidnapped by João Bethencourt .

Heinrich Gretler took part in more than 120 films. He was married to the actress Marion Wünsche since 1943 and died the day before his 80th birthday. The grave is located in the Zurich Enzenbühl cemetery (FG 84049).

At the beginning of the 1980s it became known that the Gretlers had bequeathed their entire inheritance of CHF 400,000 to the agitated youth of Zurich .

Filmography (selection)



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Knerger.de: The grave of Heinrich Gretler
  2. Jürgmeier: Public Enemies or Black and White. P. 42 , online archive catalog of the Zurich City Archives, estate, 1897–1977 (holdings) , Christoph Stückelberger: Mediation and Partisanship, p. 202