Hannelore Elsner, Compelling German Actress, Is Dead at 76


BERLIN — Hannelore Elsner, who outlined the function of smart-talking feminine police inspector in certainly one of Germany’s most generally watched tv procedurals and gained approval for her portrayal of a despondent novelist within the film “No Place to Go,” died on April 21 in Munich. She was 76.

Her loss of life was introduced by her son, Dominik Elstner, a photographer, on his website. German media shops reported that she had breast most cancers.

Since her first look onscreen, in 1959, Ms. Elsner had been a fixture of German tv. She was one of many nation’s best-known actors, each on tv and in films.

But it was not till she was in her late 50s that she made her worldwide breakthrough, in “No Place to Go” (2000), directed by Oskar Roehler, which was proven at the Cannes Film Festival and launched in different international locations. It gained Germany’s highest movie award, the Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Prize) in Gold, and Ms. Elsner gained the Deutscher Filmpeis for finest actress for her efficiency as a tormented West German author despairing over the collapse of Communism in East Germany and confronting her previous.

In his overview, The New York Times critic A. O. Scott stated Ms. Elsner “holds the screen with the intensity of a silent-film goddess.”

By that point she was already a family identify in Germany for enjoying the title function on “Die Kommissarin” (“The Inspector”), the nation’s first crime sequence to characteristic a lady because the lead detective. It ran from 1994 to 2006.

“I thought up the name Lea Sommer,” she stated of her character in an interview with the journal Emma in 2000. “She was supposed to be Martina Winter, but that is a name for a model, not for an inspector.”

As performed by Ms. Elsner, Lea was a pistol-toting detective who wore excessive heels and confirmed toughness and depth in investigating crimes, however who additionally had a pressure of vulnerability and a sly humorousness.

The sequence helped flip Ms. Elsner into a task mannequin as an impartial girl, each on and off the display. While engaged on the sequence she was elevating her son, from a short relationship with the German tv director Dieter Wedel, as a single mom.

Hannelore Elstner (she later dropped the “t” from her final identify) was born on July 26, 1942, in Burgenhausen, close to the Austrian border. In an interview with the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitungin 2015, she recalled a troublesome formative years: When she was three, her brother died in an air raid; 5 years later her father, an engineer, died of tuberculosis. Her mom labored numerous jobs after the warfare to assist the household.

Her mom moved the household to Munich, the place Ms. Elsner was found by a younger Turkish movie director when she was 16. He wished to solid her in a movie; the movie was by no means made, however the encounter led her to attend the Munich School of Acting. She graduated in 1962.

She began her movie profession with “Immer die Mädchen” (“Always the Girls”) and “Freddy Unter Fremden Sternen,” (“Freddy Under Foreign Stars”), each launched in 1959. Through the 1970s, she earned a fame as a muse for the administrators of the New German Cinema, together with Alf Brustellin, whom she later married, in addition to Heidi Genée and Edgar Reitz.

Ms. Elsner was married thrice, to the actor Gerd Vespermann from 1964 to 1966, to Mr. Brustellin from 1973 till his loss of life in 1981, and to Uwe B. Carstensen from 1993 till their divorce in 2000. Her son is her solely quick survivor.

After the renewed consideration that got here from “No Place to Go,” Dani Levy solid Ms. Elsner as a gentile spouse struggling to adapt to Jewish traditions in his comedy “Go for Zucker!” (2004). Ms. Elsner reveled within the film’s humor, telling an interviewer in 2005, “I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much during the shooting of a film.”

Her most up-to-date movie, “Cherry Blossoms and Demons” — a sequel by the German director Doris Dörrie to her “Cherry Blossoms” (2008), which additionally starred Ms. Elsner — was launched this 12 months. She had additionally accomplished two tv dramas and a characteristic movie, “Hannes,” directed by Hans Steinbichler, to be launched subsequent 12 months.

Although German obituaries lauded Ms. Elsner because the final of the nation’s movie divas, Mr. Levy recalled a special facet to her: that of a staff participant who put the movie earlier than her personal appearing.

“An unusual energy, sly and paired with a childlike joy rested in her,” Mr. Levy wrote within the weekly newspaper Die Zeit. “She enjoyed a laugh, was compassionate, thoughtful and was always in a sparkling exchange with people and the world around her.”



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