Friday, February 18, 2011

Austria's "Peter The Great" Entertainer Has Passed Away

Peter Alexander Ferdinand Maximilian Neumayer (June 30, 1926 – February 12, 2011), commonly known as Peter Alexander, was an Austrian actor, singer and entertainer. His fame emerged in the 1950s and 1960s through popular film comedies and successful recordings, predominantly of Schlager and operetta repertory. Later, Alexander established himself as the acclaimed host of television shows. His career as a live singer touring the German language countries lasted until 1991, while he continued his television work until 1996. During World War II, Alexander was a teenaged Luftwaffenhelfer and member of the Reichsarbeitsdienst before finally being conscripted into the Navy. He was
Click on the image to watch Lucia Popp & Peter Alexander
captured by the British in early 1945 and held as a POW. After WWII, he attended Vienna's Max Reinhardt Seminary for actors until 1948 and then began his career in acting. He starred in several musical comedies, including Liebe, Tanz und 1000 Schlager and Peter schießt den Vogel ab. He recorded Ralph Benatzky's operetta Im weißen Rößl, singing the lead role of Leopold Brandmeyer. He then performed in the 1960 movie version of the operetta. He later starred in the Count Bobby movies and the Lümmel-series. In the 1970s, Alexander started a
Opera guests (left to right): Montserrat Caballé, Christa Ludwig, Grace Bumbry and Anna Moffo
second career as a TV host and entertainer. His music show, Die Peter Alexander Show, was shown on black and white TV from 1963 until 1966. From 1969, the German TV station ZDF started to air a new color version which was broadcast
until 1996. The Peter Alexander Show has been seen by more than 38 million viewers and has averaged a 71% viewing rate. After his death, Media Control
named him the biggest singles artist ever with 459 songs having charted on the German Singles Chart. The single "Und manchmal weinst du sicher ein paar Tränen" had the longest run with 34 weeks on that chart, while 2 other songs, "Der letzte Walzer" and "Liebesleid", were able to reach the #1 position. He was often known to his fans as "Peter the Great." Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann lauded Alexander as a "great Austrian." "As an artist, Peter Alexander made generations of people happy — both at home and abroad," Faymann said in a statement. Culture Minister Claudia Schmied, meanwhile, said Alexander was a pioneer of German language TV entertainment. "Austria is losing a great actor, singer and entertainer," Schmied said. He married Hilde Haagen in 1952; they had two children, Susanne Neumayer-Haidinger (1958–2009), an artist, and Michael Neumayer (born 1963).
He withdrew completely from public life for the last decade of his life, during which he suffered the death of his manager and wife of 51 years, Hilde, in 2003, and the death of his daughter, Susanne, in a car accident in 2009 in Thailand. He died in his native Vienna and is survived by his son and two grandchildren. [Source, Source, Source]

Opera Stars (1978-96) Anneliese Rothenberger, Montserrat Caballé, Hermann Prey, Ingeborg Hallstein, Christa Ludwig and Anna Moffo.

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