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Oskar Karlweis

Picture Oskar Karlweis
Foto: Alexander Binder (1888-1929)

1894 - 1956

The actor Oskar Karlweis became a very popular actor in entertainment movies at the beginning of the talkies. But his much promising career became abruptly ended in 1933 because of the National Socialists.

He grew up in an artistic surrounding. His father was a successful writer in Austria under the pen name C. Karlweis and his older sister Marta Weiss was also a writer. So Oskar Karlweis also entered an artistic career.

He began as an actor at the theater and gave guest performances in Vienna, Munich and Berlin at different stages. Especially with operettas by Johann Strauss Sohn he had great successes as an actor, singer and dancer (Die Fledermaus, Wiener Blut, 1001 Nacht).

Oskar Karlweis made his film debut in 1926 with "Schenk mir das Leben" (26), two years later followed an other silent movie called "Liebe im Kuhstall" (28).
The year 1930 was the year in which Oskar Karlweis took the big screen by storm.
With his first movie in 1930 he catapulted himself to the most popular stars of the early 30's. At Willy Fritsch's and Heinz Rühmann's side he impersonated the trio "Die Drei von der Tankstelle" (30). In the next three years followed other great successes like "Zwei Herzen im Dreiviertel-Takt" (30), "Dolly macht Karriere" (30), "Die Männer um Lucie" (31), "Mamsell Nitouche" (31), "Die Försterchristl" (31), "Die Firma heiratet" (31), "Heut kommt's drauf an" (33) and "Die Herren vom Maxim" (33).

But with the assumption of power by the National Socialists the Jew Oskar Karlweis had to emigrate. He went to his home country Austria and was able to continue his career at the Kammerspielen and at the Theater in der Josefstadt.
In this time he only took part in two more movies called "Alles für die Firma" (35) and "Letzte Liebe" (35).

Eventually Austria wasn't a any longer a protective haven for him and he had to emigrate via Switzerland and lCzechoslovakia to Paris. Two years later he went to Portugal, Spain and finally to the USA.
In the USA he wasn't able to continue his career for the time being because of his speech problem, instead he organzied performances at the Carnegie Hall with other emigrants.
Oskar Karlweis had his first great success in English in 1942 with "Rosalinda", later followed triumphs on Broadway.

Oskar Karlweis returned to Vienna in 1948 for the first time after war where he was welcomed be an enthusiastic audience. He had a successful comeback at the theater and commuted between Austria and the USA in the next years.
From 1951 he also took part in American movies where he normally impersonated support roles. To these movies belong "St. Benny the Dip" (51), "Five Fingers" (52), "The Juggler" (53) and "Meet Me in Las Vegas" (56). For the US television followed several appearances too.

Today the name Oskar Karlweis nearly fell into oblivion.

Other movies with Oskar Karlweis: 
Ein Tango für Dich (30) Der Tanzhusar (31) Die nackte Wahrheit (31) Das Konzert (31) Im Banne des Eulenspiegels (32) Hochzeitsreise zu dritt (32) Keinen Tag ohne Dich (33) Frühlingsstimmen (33) Serie "The Philco Television Playhouse: I Like It Here" (48) Anything Can Happen (52) Serie "Broadway Television Theatre: I Like It Here" (52) Tonight We Sing (53) Hollandmädel (53) Serie "The United States Steel Hour: Morning Star" (54) Serie "Omnibus: The Apollo of Bellac" (54)