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Veteran Showman Heinz Ruehmann Dead at 92

October 5, 1994

MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ Heinz Ruehmann, Germany’s most beloved actor who appeared in more than 100 movies as well as on stage and television, has died. He was 92.

Ruehmann’s health had been deteriorating for months and he died in his sleep Tuesday at his home at Starnberger Lake, near Munich, his production company said.

Born in Essen, in the Ruhr valley, on March 7, 1902, Ruehmann moved to Munich as a child.

He dropped out of high school at age 17 to study acting and made his stage debut in 1920.

His first movie was ″The German Mother’s Heart,″ in 1926. A string of comic stage roles with the Bavarian theater soon made him a favorite throughout the country.

During the Nazi era, Ruehmann divorced his Jewish-born wife, Maria Bernheim, so she could emigrate to Sweden. The Nazis considered him indispensable to the nation as a showman and he continued to act.

After the war he formed the film production company ″Comedia″ with fellow actor Alf Teichs. The company quickly went bankrupt and Ruehmann acted in third-rate films for seven years to pay off his debts.

In 1955 Ruehmann made a comeback in the stage and film version of ″Charlie’s Aunt,″ a slapstick comedy that filled struggling theaters throughout West Germany.

A long series of films followed, including the 1963 U.S. production of ″Ship of Fools,″ and Ruehmann’s 102nd movie appearance, ″A Train to Manhattan,″ shot in New York in 1980.

He continued regular appearances in Germany, including reading poems for children on TV on Christmas Eve.

Ruehmann is survived by his third wife, Hertha Droemer, and a son, Peter, from his second marriage.

Plans for the funeral were not immediately made public.

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