Who was Hardy Krüger? German-born Hollywood star of 'The Wild Geese' and 'Barry Lyndon' dies aged 93

Hardy Krüger (Image via Christian Augustin/Getty Images)
Hardy Krüger (Image via Christian Augustin/Getty Images)

On January 19, German actor Hardy Krüger, known for his roles in films like Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975), passed away at the age of 93. According to his literary agent, Peter Kaefferlein, the actor died “suddenly and unexpectedly.”

Krüger died at his Palm Springs, California residence, where he lived with his wife from his third marriage, Anita Park. He is reportedly survived by wife Park, daughters Christiane and Malaika, son Hardy Krüger Jr, and at least three grandchildren.

The news of his demise was shared by Hamburg’s senator for culture and media, Carsten Brosda. He labeled the late Hardy Krüger as:

“One of the most important voices in post-war Germany…”

Meanwhile, his son Hardy paid tribute to the star in an Instagram post. He said:

“Here the last curtain has fallen on the stage of the world and the world bows to you, father!”

What is known about the late German Hollywood star Hardy Krüger?

Eberhard August Franz Ewald Krüger was born in Berlin in 1928. In a 2016 interview with German-based news portal Westdeutsche Zeitung, he revealed that his parents brought him up to "love (Adolf) Hitler.”

At 17, Krüger was also tasked with shooting an American squad, which he declined. This resulted in a death sentence, but was later revoked. He eventually escaped Germany.

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The Berlin native made his foray into acting amidst the Second World War in 1943. He appeared in Alfred Weidenmann’s drama, The Young Eagle (aka Junge Adler). Krüger worked on minor stage productions post World War 2 before becoming a professional feature film actor.

Hardy Krüger had already established himself as a proficient German actor before working in English-language films throughout the 1950s. While his first Hollywood film was reportedly 1953’s The Moon Is Blue, the actor’s breakthrough role in American cinema was in 1957’s war-drama, The One That Got Away.

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Krüger’s well-known work in Hollywood includes his roles in films like Howard Hawks’ 1962 hit Hatari! and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975). He also worked with Richard Attenborough in 1977’s BAFTA-winning film, A Bridge Too Far, where he portrayed Major General Ludwig.

The following year, he appeared alongside Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Roger Moore in The Wild Geese.

The late actor had worked on over 67 projects in his career spanning over six decades. His last appearance was in a 2011 German TV movie titled Familiengeheimnisse - Liebe, Schuld und Tod.

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Throughout his career spanning 67 years, Hardy Krüger received five awards, along with five nominations. He famously refused to be nominated for the “best supporting actor” award in 1966’s Golden Globe for his role in The Flight of the Phoenix. Krüger has also received honorary recognition at the German Film Awards.

Edited by Saman