By Olaf Dante Marx
By Line: Helga Anders is dead. She captured our hearts as the “Beat Teenager” in the TV series “Die Unverbesserlichen”, later as a frustrated actress she drank herself out of her mind.
Just like every morning I went to get my rolls and newspapers. Suddenly I felt weak. The sleepy lady running the kiosk asks with concern “Are you alright?”. Hasn’t she seen the headlines? Helga Anders is dead! Below it states “She wasn’t with us for ages”, in crashing cynicism. And so dies one who became great over the years and is now gone. Helga Anders at 38 years old.
There was once a time in West Germany when women at the hairdressers sat under dryer hoods flicking through Constanze magazine, at home they would have the latest edition of Jasmin magazine “for the life of couples” on the bedside cabinet.
On Sunday afternoons men watched the Bundesleague on the television, and the children, who went straight from “Fix und Foxi” in the world of Bravo magazine into Hans-Jürgen Bäumler and “Clearasil”.
After their school leaving examinations they subscribed to “Twen” magazine and may be thoroughly for more democracy. Let people follow their own way….and so it was with the world in the early sixties, any time every storm and stress in workers lives would come to an ending…
Yet suddenly there were the girls, who gesticulated erratically. The Rock! The Haircuts! The Dances! In “Beatclub”, completely nervous and very bold, they danced and laughed before the waiting cameras. Everyone in this country could see a face on magazine covers, cinema posters and on the black and white television. The face of Helga Anders.
Shortly before ARD had re-run the best German Family TV series “Die Unverbesserlichen” From 1965 up to 1971 the Inge- Mysel family had not only taken 68 percent of the ratings it had at delivered a background documentary of the times. Working class family entertainment in happy days of the social liberation era. The series ended exactly and significantly with the episode “Die Unverbesserlichen and their pride”. The world of work was in power!
Back then Inge Meysel developed the nasty old woman that we know today, an unyielding, anxious, always misunderstanding and agonising “Mother of the Nation”, who foolishly jabbered away. Within the series she only had one serious opponent. That was Helga Anders as her daughter Lore, the first German TV teenager, who listened to loud music in her bedroom. There were crashes and arguments and hysterical adolescent tears, and in one moment of breathtaking truth Mysel’s blathering about the new and the old Germany drove Helga to say “You begrudge me my life, because you don’t have one anymore!” that was the bare manifesto of the German dramatic art about the generation gap, the alternative class war of the welfare state. No one could perform it better than Helga Anders. Sabine Sinjen was too sweet, her following with the Mods was over, and Uschi Obermaier was too stoned. Helga Anders was the good big sister, eternally in love and excited. She wasn’t beautiful but cute, she wasn’t intellectual but always did instinctively what was right. She was clever. So clever that in only one series of the “Unverbesserlichen” she made herself indispensable. From then on her absences from series to series had to be explained to an infuriated German TV Public. Once she was an Au-Pair in Paris another time in South America as a foreign correspondent.
She lived in the world of the over eighteens, in “Swinging Schwabing” and the new German films with naked scenes. Neither child nor yet woman she became the “Kindfrau”, giggling while she held her hands in front of her small bosom. Until she met a man that at least was as good looking as Alain Delon in “Rocco And His Brothers”, he was called Roger Fritz, a career minded photographer for “Twen” and “Vogue” magazines and a former assistant of Luchino Visconti. She was 17, Roger was 27. He made her into a filmstar, she fell in love with him, they got married.
Roger Fritz directed two good films with her, “Mädchen, Mädchen” and “Mädchen mit Gewalt”. That was the first box office success for the “New German Films”. Helga Anders always played a girl who suffered as a result of cowardly or brutal men.
In “Mädchen mit Gewalt” she was raped but afterwards she could not trust the police. “Beyond belief” sneered the critic from “Spiegel” Magazine, do they still think that now!
And then what? She disappeared from sight. Every now and again she would surface again on the television. In the second best German Family Series “Der Komissar” she played a rebellious class representative, angry and protesting and not cute anymore, but now nearly thirty, finally beautiful.
After that she sank into the “Swamp of the After Sixty Eighter’s” “Quick”magazine. Alcohol, drugs and psychiatric hospital. The end of last german Stars of the 1960’s.
Only the most technically gifted successors could follow her.
Photocaption: Germany flipped out; the hair from Twiggy, the Jacket from Carnaby Street
And The Face Of Helga Anders
Tempo Magazine May 1986
“translation owned in full by Jerry Lancaster “