German actor and singer, Manfred Krug, one of the few performers to find fame on both sides of his then divided country during the Cold War, has died in Berlin, aged 79.
Communist authorities banned him from performing in East Germany in 1977 after he expressed support for a dissident folk singer and was asked to leave soon after.
In West Germany, his career picked up again as he released songs, published books and starred in television series.
Krug became the public face for Deutsche Telekom’s gigantic initial public offering in 1996 – only to burn his bridges with his corporate sponsors later by publicly apologising to shareholders who lost money.
Berlin Mayor, Mr Michael Mueller, said “Manfred Krug’s greatest accomplishment was that he was first a star in East Germany and a star in all of Germany.
“Krug was never afraid to stand up for what he believed in,’’ Mueller said.
`Born in Duisburg, West Germany in 1937, Krug moved to Communist East Germany with his father, an engineer in the steel industry in 1949.
He started acting in 1957 and came up against the authorities less than a decade later, appearing in the East German film “Spur der Steine’’ (Trace of Stones) that was branded anti-Socialist soon after its release and banned.
Another decade on, he signed a petition against the expulsion of folk singer, Wolf Biermann, then headed west.
According to his management — K and V Event, Krug died on Oct. 21, but his family wanted a private funeral before going public.
Mr Joachim Guack, the former president of then West Germany said “I’ll remember Krug as one of the most authentic and popular actor of our age.
“Whether on television, in films or on stage, he showed us the strength and weaknesses of human beings with his wonderful style,’’ Guack said. (Reuters/NAN)