Burkhard Driest

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Burkhard Driest
Burkhard Driest.jpg
Driest in 1980
Born(1939-04-28)28 April 1939
Died27 February 2020(2020-02-27) (aged 80)
Berlin, Germany
AwardsOldenburg International Film Festival (2019)

Burkhard Driest ([?b???k.ha??t ?dri?st]; 28 April 1939 – 27 February 2020) was a German actor, writer and director, known for his acting work in Sam Peckinpah's Cross of Iron and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle. He also wrote novels and screenplays.


Driest was born in Stettin, Germany (now Poland), on 28 April 1939,[1][2][3] the son of a graduate economist and a piano teacher.[4] At the end of World War II, the family fled to Peine, Lower Saxony.[2] His parents were divorced in 1950. The children stayed with the mother, who moved to G?ttingen, but he returned to his father in 1957.[4] In an anthology from 1995, Driest described his memories of childhood and adolescence under the title Halbstark in Peine. He was dismissed from school four times but achieved the Abitur as the third-best of that year.[2][4]

Driest studied law for ten semesters in Kiel, Berlin and G?ttingen.[1] On 11 May 1965, three weeks before his oral law examination, he robbed the savings bank (German: Sparkasse) in Burgdorf.[1] He was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three years and four months.[4] He then worked in the port of Hamburg,[4] and as a waiter and taxi driver in London. He published his first novel, Die Verrohung des Franz Blum (The brutalization of Franz Blum), with autobiographical aspects, in 1974. He wrote the screenplay for a 1974 film of the same name, directed by Reinhard Hauff, with Jürgen Prochnow in the title role, and Driest in a minor role.[1] Peter Zadek invited him to play the role of Stanley Kowalski in Endstation Sehnsucht (A Streetcar Named Desire) by Tennessee Williams, with Rosel Zech as Blanche, at the Schauspielhaus Bochum.[5] The same year, Driest was a guest on Dietmar Sch?nherr's talk show, with Romy Schneider and Bubi Scholz. During this live appearance, Schneider touched Driest's arm, saying "Sie gefallen mir! Sie gefallen mir sehr!" (I like you! I like you a lot!) in words from a recent popular film in which Schneider had starred. The incident won him increased attention.[1][4]

Driest worked with directors such as Werner Herzog (for Stroszek), Sam Peckinpah (for Cross of Iron), and Reinhard Hauff on four projects. He wrote together with Lukas Heller the script for the satire Son of Hitler [], which premiered in 1978 but was a failure with critics and the audience.[5]

Driest wrote versions of the screenplay for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's final film, Querelle, but they were not accepted. He played the role of Mario, alongside Jeanne Moreau and Brad Davis.[4][6] Driest wrote texts for the Peter Zadek's musical Andi and revue Falco meets Amadeus at the Theater des Westens.[4] Driest lived in Switzerland after 1983, working as an actor and producer.[3] In 1984, he made his debut as a film director, with Annas Mutter [].[5] He wrote a detective novel published in 2003[3] and also worked as an artist.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Driest was married three times. His daughter is the writer Johanna Driest []. He died in Berlin on 27 February 2020 at age 80 after a long illness.[4]


Driest worked in films as an actor, screenwriter, director and producer, including:[8]

As actor

As screenwriter

  • 1974: Die Verrohung des Franz Blum, script based on his own novel of the same name
  • 1978: Son of Hitler
  • 1980: Endstation Freiheit
  • 1982: Querelle
  • 1984: Annas Mutter

As director

  • 1984: Annas Mutter

As producer

  • 1978: Son of Hitler
  • 1982: Querelle

Other works[edit]

Works by Driest are held by the German National Library, including:[9]


  • 1974: Die Verrohung des Franz Blum, Rowohlt, Reinbek
  • 1981: Mann ohne Schatten
  • 1997: Sanfte Morde
  • 2003: Der rote Regen
  • 2005: Liebestod
  • 2006: Brennende Schuld
  • 2008: Sommernachtsmord
  • 2010: Küchenkunst, LangenMüller, Munchen
  • 2011: Die Maik?fer und der Krieg (Roman), LangenMüller, München


  1. ^ a b c d e . K?lner Stadt-Anzeiger (in German). 22 April 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c . Munzinger Archiv (in German). Internationales Biographisches Archiv. 2019. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b c . Bild (in German). 12 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i . Die Zeit (in German). 28 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b c . Filmfest Oldenburg (in German). 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  6. ^ Selbst-Portr?t der Kindheit und Jugend in: Florian Langenscheidt (Hrsg.): Bei uns zu Hause. Prominente erz?hlen von ihrer Kindheit. Düsseldorf 1995, ISBN 3430159458.
  7. ^ . Der Tagesspiegel (in German). 28 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  8. ^ . filmportal.de (in German). 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  9. ^ German National Library

External links[edit]