Ilja Richter turns 70 today – He brought the disco into our living room

He looks like a ghost.

On the train to Berlin, a kind of monk in a coat and scarf sometimes walks through the corridors, mumbling to himself.

A grey-haired pensioner with a stubble? In the clear eyes, the body tension and the concentrated face you suddenly discover the cheeky TV legend: cult star Ilja Richter. He’s learning lyrics! Still. Always young.

Ilja Richter turns 70 today. In the 70s he was “Mr. Disco”. Let’s dream ourselves back.

Ilja Richter (then 23) in 1975. From 1971 to 1982 he moderated the ZDF cult show

Ilja Richter (then 23) in 1975. From 1971 to 1982 he moderated the ZDF cult show “Disco”

Photo: dpa/picture alliance/Keystone

“Light off! Spot on!” This is how Ilja (18) starts the TV music phenomenon “Disco” (1971) in a suit and tie. Men wear sideburns, women wear miniskirts. Germans discover McDonald’s and Greenpeace. Honecker becomes GDR dictator, Mercedes invents the airbag. “The show with the mouse” starts on ARD – and “Disco” (45-minute hits and smiley skits with Ilja) on ZDF.

“Disco” became a TV magnet 133 times over a period of 11 years: 25 million fans. Stars: Boney M, Neil Diamond, Cat Stevens, Marianne Rosenberg (Ilya’s girlfriend). People watched because of stars, music, fashion. “Hello Ilja” was “Disco” director, always different. A prodigy. At the age of 8 he was already a child star on Berlin radio.

Richter loved sketches – in 1976 he sang the parody song “Trainers don’t lie” with football star Berti Vogts (75)

Richter loved sketches – in 1976 he sang the parody song “Trainers don’t lie” with football star Berti Vogts (75)

Photo: ZDF

No one suspected the shadow of his life:

► His communist father († 73) was a resistance fighter in a concentration camp and prison for nine years

► His Jewish mother († 86) survived only with an “Aryan identity”.

Ilja played with Heidi Brühl († 49) or Martin Held († 83). In his soul he is an actor – more than 100 films.

The German and international stars performed at

The German and international stars performed at “Disco” and delighted the audience – like the “Bee Gees” Maurice († 53), Robin († 62) and Barry Gibb (76, from left) in February 1972.

Photo: ZDF

Entertainer legend Udo Jürgens († 80, left) sang his World Cup song

Entertainer legend Udo Jürgens († 80, left) sang his World Cup song “Buenos Dias Argentina” with Richter in 1978

Photo: Schneider-Press/Erwin Schneider

With “Disco” he shaped the eternal disco child of a generation. Ilja Richter is also Generation Vicky Leandros (also 70) – she too is a “disco” star. You to BILD: “He did it brilliantly!”

I was there as a reporter. Ilya was always his own disco. They used to say old-fashioned. Today he is smart. At 65 he became a father for the first time.

Light on! spot on! Happy 70th

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