Irmgard Hermann (4 October 1942 – 26 May 2020) was a German actress. She worked in film, television, and the stage, appearing in over 160 film and television productions. She was discovered, without formal training, by Rainer Werner Fassbinder who cast her in many of his films. She was awarded the Deutscher Filmpreis for playing Irmgard Epp in Fassbinder's The Merchant of Four Seasons, and again for appearing as Else Gebel, a woman in prison with Sophie Scholl, in Percy Adlon's Fünf letzte Tage.
|Died||26 May 2020 (aged 77)|
Born in Munich, Hermann became a publishing clerk after finishing school and worked as a secretary for ADAC. She met Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1966, who convinced her to quit her job to work with him although she lacked formal training as an actress. The same year, Hermann made her debut in Fassbinder's short film The City Tramp (Der Stadtstreicher), and then went on to play in 19 of Fassbinder's films, including Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, 1972). She was usually cast as a frustrated, stuffy (spießig) woman. Her one leading role in his films, Irmgard Epp in the 1971 Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (The Merchant of Four Seasons), won her the Deutscher Filmpreis award. She was a member of Fassbinder's complicated professional and personal entourage, and became one of his confidantes, but the relationship also involved abusive behaviour by Fassbinder towards her; after his death, she said he had been physically abusive.
In the mid-1970s, Hermann broke with Fassbinder and moved to Berlin, where her career developed. She played in numerous film and television productions with directors such as Tankred Dorst, Werner Herzog, Hans W. Geißendörfer and Christoph Schlingensief. Her performance as Else Gebel, a woman in prison with the resistance fighter Sophie Scholl, in Percy Adlon's 1982 Fünf letzte Tage (Last Five Days) was again honoured with a Deutscher Filmpreis in 1983. She liked to play in comedies such as Loriot's 1991 Pappa Ante Portas, Hape Kerkeling's 1996 Willi und die Windzors (as a fictionalized version of Queen Elizabeth II) and Rudolf Thome's 1999 Paradiso – Sieben Tage mit sieben Frauen. Paradiso won a Silver Bear at the 2000 Berlinale for artistic achievement (künstlerische Leistung). Overall, she appeared in over 160 film and television productions until 2018. She played on stage at the Berlin Volksbühne and with the Berliner Ensemble.
Hermann was married to Dietmar Roberg, an author of children's books. Together, they had two sons (Franz Tizian and Fridolin). She died on 26 May 2020 in Berlin. She was 77, and had been suffering from a “short, serious illness”, according to her agent.
Hermann's film appearances included:
- Katzelmacher (1969) as Elisabeth
- Warum läuft Herr R. Amok?) (Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?, 1970) as Neighbour
- Der amerikanische Soldat (The American Soldier, 1970) as Whore
- Pioniere in Ingolstadt (Pioneers in Ingolstadt, after Marieluise Fleißer's play, 1972) as Irmgard Epp
- Händler der vier Jahreszeiten (The Merchant of Four Seasons, 1972) as Irmgard Epp
- Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, 1972) as Marlene
- Wildwechsel after the play by Franz Xaver Kroetz (1975) as police woman
- Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (Eight Hours Don't Make a Day, 1973, TV miniseries) as Irmgard Erlkönig
- Effi Briest (1974) as Johanna
- Faustrecht der Freiheit (Fox and His Friends, 1974) as Madame Cherie
- Angst essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, 1974) as Krista
- Mutter Küsters' Fahrt zum Himmel (Mother Küsters' Trip to Heaven, 1975) as Helene Küsters
- Angst vor der Angst (1975) as Lore
- Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980, TV miniseries) as Trude
- Lili Marleen (1980) as Nurse
- Sternsteinhof (The Sternstein Manor, 1976) as Sali
- Der Zauberberg after Thomas Mann's novel (1982) as Fräulein Engelhart
- Fünf letzte Tage (1982) as Else Gebel
- Das deutsche Kettensägenmassaker (The German Chainsaw Massacre, 1990) as GDR borderwoman
- The Passenger – Welcome to Germany (1988) as concentration camp commander, directed by Thomas Brasch
- Joan of Arc of Mongolia (1989) as Fräulein Müller-Vohwinkel
- Pappa Ante Portas (1991) as Hedwig, directed by Loriot
- Willi und die Windzors (1996, TV film) as Queen Elizabeth II, directed by Hape Kerkeling
- Die Affäre Semmeling (2002, TV mini series) as financial officer
- A Woman in Berlin (2008) as widow
- Faust Sonnengesang (2011) (voice)
- Vatertage - Opa über Nacht (2012) as Marianne Oberrotter
- Lotta (2012, TV series) as Frau Johansson
- Die Libelle und das Nashorn (2012) as Verlegerin
- Stuttgart Homicide (2012, TV series) as Ilse Vogelmann
- Die Erfindung der Liebe (2012) as Johanna von Kirsch
- Fack ju Göhte 3 (2017) as Ploppi's grandma
- Labaule & Erben (2018, TV miniseries) as Marianne Labaule
- "Irm Hermann". Filmportal (in German). Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Kothenschulte, Daniel (29 May 2020). "Zum Tod von Irm Hermann: Die anarchische Königin". Frankfurter Rundschau (in German). Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Shoard, Catherine (28 May 2020). "Irm Hermann, star of 20 Fassbinder films, dies aged 77". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- "Film- und Theater-Schauspielerin Irm Hermann im Alter von 77 Jahren gestorben". rbb24.de (in German). 28 May 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
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