Ferdinand Marian – A firm fixture at the German box-office

Arguably one of the most popular actors of his generation, the dashingly handsome Ferdinand Marian was a firm fixture at the German box-office during the late 30s and 40s.
Arguably one of the most popular actors of his generation, the dashingly handsome Ferdinand Marian was a firm fixture at the German box-office during the late 30s and 40s.

Arguably one of the most popular actors of his generation, the dashingly handsome Ferdinand Marian was a firm fixture at the German box-office during the late 30s and 40s.

He received his start in his native Austria, following the operatic career of his father in Vienna.

He never took drama, dancing or singing lessons, but proved a natural on stage, and even more so on screen, where he caught the attention of a legion of female fans.

His intention after leaving school was to study engineering, but he dropped out of technical school and began working as a jobbing actor at provincial theatres in Graz, Trier, Mönchengladbach, Aachen, Hamburg and Munich.

Theatre critics took note of his breakthrough performance in Hamburg in Richard Billingers play ‘Rauhnacht’, that in turn lead him to Berlin and the Deutsche Theatre, where he was cast as Iago in Othello.

This role became his greatest theatrical success and gained him the attention of the Nazi Minister of propaganda. Taking advantage of this popularity among the female audience, the National Socialist decision-makers offered him the role of Jud Süß, the most well-known anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda film ever made.

He initially refused to accept the role, but was pushed by Joseph Goebbels to take what would become his “destiny role”.

He made several more films during the war years, but his association with Jud Süß sealed his fate when the Third Reich fell in 1945..

Because of his involvement in the film his part in the Nazi propaganda machinery, he was given by the Allies a life-long professional ban.

He died in a car accident in 1946, probably due to drink driving, after he slammed his car against a tree. To this day, it is speculated whether this was a suicide because of his blacklisting from the film industry.

However, American film officer in Munich, Eric Pleskow, says Marian was set to be taken off the blacklist, adding that the car he was driving also had two passengers (both survived, they were only slightly injured.)

Marian was buried in the Munich North Cemetery.

War Life