Paul Kemp

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Paul Kemp in the 1920s, pencil drawing by Egon Wilden
Gravestone of the actor Paul Kemp in the castle cemetery in Bad Godesberg
Gothic Pietà in the Marienkirche of Bad Godesberg (gift from the estate of Paul Kemp)

Paul Peter "Paulchen" Kemp (born May 20, 1896 in Godesberg , † August 13, 1953 in Bonn ) was a German actor and character comedian.


The son of a musician first began to study architecture, but then - together with Gustaf Gründgens - took private acting lessons with Louise Dumont in Düsseldorf, where he also made his theater debut. He later stated that he had been inspired to become an actor through visits to Cologne's Hänneschen Theater , a puppet theater. Engagements at the Hamburger Kammerspiele under Erich Ziegel and to Berlin followed. There he found his way to film in 1930, in which he quickly rose to become a sought-after character comedian. Kemp's specialty were bizarre everyday people with slightly mischievous humor, who were often juxtaposed with dominant female roles (including Lucie Englisch ) to form a buffo couple. In this character subject , Kemp demonstrated a wide range, ranging from the honest petty bourgeois to the tragicomic dreamer. He played in Pabst's Die Dreigroschenoper (1931), Fritz Lang's M (1931), in the opera film The Bartered Bride (directed by Max Ophüls ) and the title role in Charley's Aunt (1934). He was also able to demonstrate his versatility in Reinhold Schünzel's Amphitryon - Happiness Comes Out of the Clouds (1935), in which he embodied both the sensitive messenger of the gods Mercurius, who was weary of the human race, and the unkempt, uneducated and incomprehensible servant Sosia . Fita Benkhoff took over his dominant female counterpart , the other double role of Amphitryon and Jupiter himself Willy Fritsch .

The post-war years offered Kemp's acting talent few challenges, the roles became smaller. On August 13, 1953, Paul Kemp, only 57 years old, died in the University Hospital in Bonn as a result of a ruptured appendix. In his funeral speech, fellow actor Albrecht Schoenhals said:

“A laugh has died! Paulchen Kemp is no more! As 'Paulchen' he helped to shape part of the happy side of the German soul. There were critics who placed him between the great clown Grock and the wonderful comedian Charlie Chaplin . But he had his own rank. The humor that came from the heart and flowed in the heart was stored above his comedy: the mature, wise and kind smile of a whole person who was basically very serious. "

- Albrecht Schoenhals

Kemp's ivy-covered grave is in the castle cemetery of Godesburg ; the tombstone is adorned with a relief by Kemp and the words “Filmschauspieler”.

In 1978 the Bachstrasse in Bad Godesberg, where his parents' house is located, was named after Paul Kemp.

The German Film Museum in Frankfurt am Main bought Paul Kemp's estate at auction and is preparing it for an exhibition about the artist.

Filmography (selection)

Important stage appearances (selection)

  • 1923 Hamburger Kammerspiele . William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors . Director: Erich Ziegel . Double role: Dromios, two brothers
    with Gustaf Gründgens
  • 1923 Hamburger Kammerspiele. Brandon Thomas Charley's aunt . Director: Erich Ziegel . Role: Lord Francourt Babberly, student
  • 1926 Hamburger Kammerspiele. Jacques Offenbach Orpheus in the underworld . Director: Gustaf Gründgens . Role: Orpheus, singer
  • 1927 Hamburger Kammerspiele. Jacques Offenbach The beautiful Helena . Director: Gustaf Gründgens. Role: Menelaus, King
  • 1929 Comedy, Berlin. Edgar Wallace The man who changed his name . Director: Heinz Hilpert . Role: Lane, Ganove
    with Oskar Homolka , Grete Mosheim , Willi Forst
  • 1929 Theater am Nollendorfplatz , Berlin. Johann Strauss The bat . Director: Max Reinhardt . Role: Frosch, prison guard
    with Hermann Thimig , Maria Schreker , Oskar Karlweis
  • 1930 Theater on Nollendorfplatz. Vicki Baum People in the Hotel (world premiere). Director: Gustaf Gründgens. Role: Kringelein, accountant
    with Sybille Binder, Tibor von Halmay, Margarethe Köppke
  • 1930 Theater on Nollendorfplatz. Arnold Zweig The dispute over Sergeant Grischa . Director: Alekseij Granovskij. Role: Hermann Sacht
    with Hermann Thimig, Dagny Servaes
  • 1930 comedy, Berlin. George Bernhard Shaw Should you get married? . Director: Karl-Heinz Martin. Role: Collins
    with Heinz Rühmann , Elsa Wagner, Gustaf Gründgens, Max Gülstorff, Ida Wüst
  • 1930 comedy, Berlin. Mischa Spoliansky How do I get rich and happy? (Premiere). Director: Erich Engel. Role: A registrar
    with Dolly Haas, Oscar Karlweis, Blandine Ebinger
  • 1930 Chamber plays of the German Theater , Berlin. Molière The school of women . Director: Hans Deppe . Role: A notary
    with Hans Brausewetter, Max Gülstorff, Lore Anne Mosheim
  • 1930 Deutsches Theater, Berlin. William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream . Director: Max Reinhardt. Role: Sequence, carpenter
    with Vilma Degischer, Otto Wallburg, Else Elster
  • 1930 Deutsches Theater, Berlin. Ferdinand Bruckner Elisabeth of England (world premiere). Director: Heinz Hilpert. Role: Gresham
    with Agnes Straub, Adolf Wohlbrück, Gustaf Gründgens
  • 1931 Deutsches Theater, Berlin. Carl Zuckmayer Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (world premiere). Director: Heinz Hilpert. Role: Wabschke, cutter
    with Werner Krauss, Ilse Fürstenberg, Eduard von Winterstein
  • 1931 Theater am Kurfürstendamm, Berlin. Ilse Langner The saint from the USA . Director: Ludwig Berger. Role: Hiram Craft
    with Agnes Straub, Brigitte Horney, Egon Friedell


Web links

Commons : Paul Kemp  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Permit, Paul Kemp on v. 3rd September 2012
  2. ^ Paul-Kemp-Straße in the Bonn street cadastre