18 July 1913
|Died||25 July 1979 (aged 66)|
|Spouse(s)||Liselotte Goettinger (1939–1968; her death; 2 children); |
Eric Pohlmann (German: Erich Pohlmann; born Erich Pollak; 18 July 1913 – 25 July 1979) was an Austrian theatre, film and television character actor who worked mostly in the United Kingdom. He is known for voicing Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the primary antagonist of the James Bond series, in the films From Russia with Love and Thunderball.
Born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, Pohlmann was a classically trained actor who studied under the renowned director Max Reinhardt. He appeared at the Raimund Theater, and supplemented his income by working as an entertainer in a bar.
In 1939, he followed his fiancée and later wife, actress Lieselotte Goettinger (best known in the UK for playing the concentration camp guard in the war films, Odette and Carve Her Name With Pride), into exile in London. Until mid-1941, both were kept in an internment camp. After their release, Eric took part in propaganda broadcasts against the Nazis on the BBC World Service. In order to earn a living, the Pohlmanns temporarily took positions in the household of the Duke of Bedford, Lieselotte as a cook and Eric, as he was now known, as butler.
After the war, he began a career on the London stage. Among other roles he played "Peachum" in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera. From the end of the 1940s, Pohlmann was often present in film and television productions, taking supporting roles in various adventure and crime films, and appearing occasionally in comedies. His large frame and massive features typecast him in roles as master criminals and spies, or conversely as police officers or detectives, as well as other figures of authority. He was frequently cast in "foreign" roles, portraying Turks, Italians, Arabs, Greeks or Asians; he also played King George I, King George II in Disney's Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue and King George III twice.
One of his earliest film appearances was in Carol Reed's classic The Third Man (1949). He also played supporting roles in such British films as They Who Dare (1954), Chance of a Lifetime (1950), Reach for the Sky (1956), and Expresso Bongo (1960). He also appeared in US productions, notably Moulin Rouge (1952), Mogambo (1953), Lust For Life (1956) and 55 Days at Peking (1963). Twice he appeared in films directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor – The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955) and The House of the Seven Hawks (1959).
He displayed his comedic talents in films like Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) with Jane Russell, as a lecherous Arab sheikh in The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954), as "The Fat Man" in Carry On Spying (1964) and in The Return of the Pink Panther (1975).
Pohlmann (uncredited) also provided the voice of the unseen head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in the James Bond films From Russia with Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965).
In the 1960s and 1970s, Pohlmann relaunched his German-speaking career in German and Austrian film and television productions. He had guest roles in the popular crime series Der Kommissar and Derrick, and also appeared in television plays for ORF and Bayerischer Rundfunk, often under the direction of Franz Josef Wild. In addition to The Defence Counsel (1961) with Barbara Rütting and Carl Heinz Schroth, he appeared in Little Lord Fauntleroy (1962) with Albrecht Schoenhals and Michael Ande, as well as The Dreyfus Affair (1968) with Karl Michael Vogler and Bernhard Wicki. In 1962, Pohlmann also appeared in The Puzzle of the Red Orchid starring Marisa Mell, Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski, a German film adaptation of an Edgar Wallace novel.
His many roles in Austrian TV's acclaimed production of Friedrich Torberg's 'Tante Jolesch' established Pohlmann as a major star in his home country.
Pohlmann's greatest success in German TV drama came in 1970 with an adaptation of Wilkie Collins' novel The Woman in White, one of the most successful television productions of the year which gained over 9 million viewers. Under the direction of William Semmelroth, Pohlmann appeared in the role of the villainous Count Fosco, alongside Heidelinde Weis, Christoph Bantzer, Pinkas Braun and Helmut Käutner. The mini-series has a cult following to this day.
Pohlmann was a regular on British television, taking the role of "Inspector Goron" in the 1954-1955 TV series Colonel March of Scotland Yard with Boris Karloff, and appearing as a guest star in such series as The Saint, The Champions, The Avengers, Danger Man, Department S, Jason King and Paul Temple.
In 1978, he worked with the actor-director Maximilian Schell in an Austro/German film production of Ödön von Horváth's play Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald (Tales from the Vienna Woods). The film was shown at the 1979 London Film Festival. In that year, during final rehearsals for his second appearance at the Salzburg Festival, Pohlmann suffered a heart attack, and died the same day in a hotel in Bad Reichenhall. He was 66. He was survived by his children and his second wife, Lili Stern-Pohlman, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor.
In 2006, the Turner Classic Movies "31 Days of Oscar" festival was based on the theme of "360 Degrees of Oscar" (based on the game of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon") in which TCM chooses an actor who has played a significant role in Oscar history, and builds its entire schedule around him. They chose Eric Pohlmann.
He also appeared on stage in, amongst other productions, Henry Cecil's Settled Out of Court and Jean Anouilh's 'Point of Departure'.
|1949||Portrait from Life||Search group leader|
|1949||Marry Me!||Mr. Cinelli||Uncredited|
|1949||The Third Man||Waiter at Smolka's||Uncredited|
|1949||Children of Chance||Sergeant|
|1950||Chance of a Lifetime||Xenobian|
|1950||Cairo Road||Ship's Captain|
|1950||State Secret||Cable Car conductor|
|1950||The Clouded Yellow||Greek taxidermist|
|1950||Highly Dangerous||Joe – the bartender|
|1951||The Long Dark Hall||Mr. Polaris (the mystery witness)|
|1951||Hell Is Sold Out||Louis, the proprietor|
|1951||There Is Another Sun||Markie|
|1952||The Woman's Angle||Steffano|
|1952||Emergency Call||Flash Harry|
|1952||Penny Princess||Monsieur Paul||Uncredited|
|1952||The Man Who Watched Trains Go By||Goin|
|1952||The Gambler and the Lady||Arturo Colonna|
|1953||The Beggar's Opera||Inn Keeper|
|1953||Blood Orange||Mr. Mercedes|
|1953||Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue||King George I|
|1953||36 Hours||Slossen, the smuggler|
|1954||They Who Dare||Captain Papadapoulos|
|1954||Knave of Hearts||Boarding House Proprietor||Uncredited|
|1954||Flame and the Flesh||Marina Proprietor|
|1954||Forbidden Cargo||Steven Lasovich|
|1954||The Belles of St. Trinian's||The Sultan of Makyad|
|1955||The Glass Cage||Henri Sapolio|
|1955||A Prize of Gold||Fischer|
|1955||Break in the Circle||Emile|
|1955||The Constant Husband||Papa Sopranelli|
|1955||Gentlemen Marry Brunettes||M. Ballard|
|1955||The Adventures of Quentin Durward||Gluckmeister|
|1956||The Gelignite Gang||Mr. Popoulos ("Populace")|
|1956||Reach for the Sky||Adjutant of Prison Camp|
|1956||Lust for Life||Colbert|
|1956||High Terrace||Otto Kellner|
|1956||House of Secrets||Gratz|
|1957||The Counterfeit Plan||Frank Wandelman|
|1957||Let's Be Happy||Customs Official|
|1957||Fire Down Below||Hotel Owner|
|1957||Across the Bridge||Police Sergeant|
|1957||Not Wanted on Voyage||Pedro|
|1957||Barnacle Bill||Liberamanian Consul|
|1958||A Tale of Two Cities||Sawyer|
|1958||The Duke Wore Jeans||Bastini – Prime Minister|
|1958||Nor the Moon by Night||Anton Boryslawski|
|1958||The Man Inside||Tristao|
|1958||Further Up the Creek||President|
|1958||Mark of the Phoenix||Duser|
|1959||Three Crooked Men||Masters|
|1959||John Paul Jones||King George III|
|1959||Alive and Kicking||Captain|
|1959||The House of the Seven Hawks||Captain Rohner|
|1959||Upstairs and Downstairs||Mario|
|1960||Life Is a Circus||Rickenbeck|
|1960||Sands of the Desert||Scrobin|
|1960||Surprise Package||Chief of Police Stefan Miralis|
|1960||Man Who Couldn't Walk||The Consul General|
|1960||Passport to China||Ivono Kong|
|1961||The Singer Not the Song||Presidente|
|1961||Carry On Regardless||Sinister Man|
|1961||The Kitchen||Mr. Marango|
|1962||The Puzzle of the Red Orchid||Kerkie Minelli|
|1962||Village of Daughters||Marcio (A Father)|
|1962||Mrs. Gibbons' Boys||Morelli|
|1962||The Devil's Agent||Bloch|
|1963||Follow the Boys||Italian Farmer|
|1963||55 Days at Peking||Baron von Meck|
|1963||Shadow of Fear||Henry Spiroulos|
|1963||From Russia with Love||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||Voice, Uncredited|
|1963||Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow||King George III|
|1963||The Sicilians||Inspector Bressin|
|1964||Hot Enough for June||Galushka|
|1964||Carry On Spying||The Fat Man|
|1964||Night Train to Paris||Krogh|
|1965||Joey Boy||Antonio (Italian farmer)|
|1965||Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines||Italian Mayor|
|1965||Thunderball||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||Voice, Uncredited|
|1966||Where the Spies Are||Farouk|
|1967||Hot Pavements of Cologne||Benno Trooger|
|1967||The Mini-Affair||World Banker|
|1968||Mit Eichenlaub und Feigenblatt||Old General|
|1970||Foreign Exchange||Borensko||TV film|
|1971||The Woman in White||Count Fosco||TV miniseries|
|1971||The Horsemen||Merchant in Kandahar|
|1975||The Return of the Pink Panther||Fat Man|
|1976||The Mimosa Wants to Blossom Too||Iwan Pederenko|
|1976||Tea for Three|
|1979||Tales from the Vienna Woods||Mister|
|1980||Maria – Nur die Nacht war ihr Zeuge|