Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Loriot has died

Today's top news in Germany has nothing to do with the situation in Libya or the economic downturn, no, it is the death of a man everybody loved: Bernhard Victor von Bülow has died at the age of 87. As his alias name he had chosen Loriot, the French term for the bird of the Bülow family's coat of arms.

Broad sheet papers like the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or the Süddeutsche Zeitung mourn the death of Vicco von Bülow, whose ancestor played a key role in defeating Napoléon at Waterloo in 1815.

He was a cartoonist, film director, actor and writer who made Germans laugh for decades. Vicco von Bülow, more commonly known as Loriot, has left behind a legacy of humor.

Born on 12th November 1923 into a noble Prussian family, Bernhard Victor Christoph Carl (or just Vicco) von Bülow started his career drawing cartoons with characters that had potatoe noses and depicted the funny side of human frailty and communication problems.

In the early 60s German television asked him to present British and US cartoons, but soon discovered not only his own cartoons but his talent as a comedian. His series of sketches and cartoons became an important part of Germany's cultural consciousness.

He and his amusing characters became such a success that he went on to produce a few full-length movies (Ödipussi and Pappa ante portas). None of them have been screened outside the German-speaking realm, but the BBC has run some of Loriot's sketches and cartoons and received a great response from an English audience.

As he grew older, Loriot even had a humorous perspective on his own age. "You're barely born and you're already 80," is how he commented the feeling he had about entering his 80s.

In answer to the question of what had most influenced his work, Loriot answered in 2007: "I remember that, when I started studying, I was living between a madhouse, a prison and a cemetery. The location alone explains everything, I think."

And this is the RadicalRoyalist's favourite sketch: Two gentlemen in a bath tub:

Loriot is dead - long live Loriot!

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