On January 22, 1957, at the age of 72, a woman named Claire Waldoff died in Bad Reichenhall after suffering her second stroke. Her real name was Klara Wortmann. She was born in Gelsenkirchen on Oct. 21, 1884, the daughter of a former miner and innkeeper and his wife. She had wanted to become a doctor...
But everything turned out differently. She discovered her love for the theater, changed her name, ended up in the cabaret in Berlin - and there she made history! From 1907 to 1935 she was the star on the boards of the big cabarets and vaudevilles, her songs were popular hits and were sung in the streets.
Claire Waldoff struck a chord with people like no other, because she wanted to "sing about life" - about the sorrows and hardships, the joys and entanglements that life brings. She was so very different from the chansonettes, diseuses and women of her generation. Even before the age of the "new woman" was proclaimed, she took all the liberties that came into her head. She smoked a pipe and a cigar, loved Nordhäuser Korn, cursed like a garbage collector, and her voice was what they call a "real tube."
Heinrich Zille called her Karl ("a guy like velvet and silk") and roamed with her through the notorious bars in the north and east of Berlin. Her great love was Olly von Roeder, with whom she shared table and bed for 40 years.
She appeared on stage in a tie and collar, which got her into trouble with the censor, who was of the opinion that women in men's suits had no business being on stage after 11 p.m. because of indecency. Far more unpleasant, however, were the following years and her confrontations with the fascist rulers...
Sigrid Grajek (also known as the comedy figure "Coco Lorès") sees in Claire Waldoff the "foremother of all cabaret artists". Accordingly, the actress passionately brings the songs and the life of the remarkable diseuse to the stage, slipping into the character Claire Waldoff to let her sing, play and tell stories the way she grew her beak.
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