Karl May films made him famous – Ralf Wolter turns 95

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The actor Ralf Wolter turns 95. © picture alliance / dpa

He was Sam Hawkens in “Winnetou”. The Karl May films made the actor Ralf Wolter known. He has withdrawn from the public eye for almost ten years. Ralf Wolter is now 95.

Munich – As a curious trapper Sam Hawkens, Ralf Wolter became a movie star in the 1960s. At the side of “Winnetou” star Pierre Brice, he celebrated his greatest successes. To this day, the Karl May films are shown again and again on television. This Friday (November 26th) Wolter is celebrating his 95th birthday in Munich.

He hasn’t given interviews for a long time. He had his last appearance in a film in 2012 in “To the horizon, then left” with colleagues such as Otto Sander, Herbert Feuerstein, Tilo Prückner and Anna Maria Mühe. Since then he has withdrawn. He told the “Bild” newspaper in 2013: “At some point you reach a point where you say: It’s really enough, I don’t want to anymore.”

Wolter’s wife Edith sees it that way too. When asked by phone, she doesn’t want to tell much. She will spend his birthday at home with her husband and ideally take a walk up and down the balcony.

He started out as a cabaret artist

The actor, who has lived in the Bavarian capital for many decades, was born in Berlin. His father was a circus performer, his mother a musician, and so the son’s artistic interest was probably a bit in the cradle. After attending an acting school, Wolter began as a cabaret artist. Theater stations were stages in Berlin and Potsdam, and later in Munich.

First cinema engagements followed, around 1961 together with Horst Buchholz in Billy Wilder’s post-war comedy “Eins, Zwei, drei”. The Karl May career began in 1962 with “Der Schatz im Silbersee”. Wolter became a star as Sam Hawkens, the loyal companion of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand – with the famous phrase “… if I’m not mistaken”. For a long time, the actor was considered the ideal cast for lovable clumsiness.

He loved Sam Hawkens

Wolter’s appearances at the side of Pierre Brice and Lex Barker are – despite many other roles in television productions such as “Tatort”, “The Old One”, “A Castle on Lake Wörthersee” or “Coast Guard” – the ones that the audience still sees the most are remembered.

“Every definition is annoying and everyone can imagine that reducing an actor’s life to a single role is not what an actor’s soul dreams of,” Wolter once told the German press agency. “But I loved Sam Hawkens, otherwise he wouldn’t have turned out like that either.” And the role also had another effect: “Strangely, this positive role fell back on me as Ralf Wolter. People said: He’s a great guy. ”Dpa

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