The Living Famous.
We know it’s not exactly like America but Germany does have its stars and chances are good that you know quite a few of them. Miss Runaway Heidi Klum who recently made German ‘klopse’, meatballs, at Ellen Degeneres’ show, for instance is one of the prettiest German exports the country has to offer.
Steffi Graf, Boris Becker and Michael Schumacher have achieved great international success in sports while Karl Lagerfeld still enchants millions of fashionistas with his creations and puzzles dozens of journalists with his ideas. And of course there is Angela Merkel…well, just read on.
Currently she is the most powerful German there is, so Chancellor Angela Merkel got to be on top of our list. Merkel was born on July 17, 1954 in Hamburg.
However, only a few days after their daughter’s birth the family migrated to the German Democratic Republic (DDR) where Angela Merkel lived until the unification.
The politician is a studied natural scientist; she ended her academic studies in physics with a doctoral degree and then went into research in the field of quantum chemistry. After the fall of the wall Merkel eventually became active in the democratic party CDU and was soon known as former Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s protégée, confidante and later minister. Years before she won the national elections in 2005 as challenger to predecessor in office Gerhard Schröder, Merkel had been leader of the opposition.
Angela Merkel is married in her second marriage to Joachim Sauer. However, the professor of chemistry seldom makes appearances in his role as ‘first gentlemen’ and prefers to remain in the background.
One of the most successful German ‚exports‘, super model Heidi Klum has been residing in the USA since 1993 but keeps in touch with her Bergisch-Gladbach roots. The model was born on June 1, 1973. Her international career started in 1992; she subsequently moved to New York City preparing her break through. Today she handles her career as model, presenter, producer and business woman while raising her three children. She is married to American singer Seal since 2005.
Heidi is popular in Germany for her returning show “Germany’s Next Top Model” while in America she successfully moderates and produces “Project Runway”.
Steffi Graf was born Stefanie Maria Graf on June 14, 1969 in Mannheim. But the world came to know her affectionately as Steffi or ‘Fräulein Forehand’ or simply as one of the most successful tennis players of all times. Steffi started playing tennis when she was three and turned pro as a 13-year-old. She retired from professional tennis in 1999 but has been active in numerous enterprises ever since. Apart from being a promoter for diverse brands, she has development a training concept under the name of ‘Mrs. Sporty’ and created a foundation called ‘Children for Tomorrow’ helping traumatized children throughout the world.
Stefanie Graf and her husband, Andre Agassi, and their two children live in Las Vegas.
In the eighties he and Steffi Graf were the dream team of German tennis.
Boris Becker has achieved world fame in sports; among many successes he was able to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon at the age of 17, as the youngest winner ever at that time. Born November 22, 1967, in Leimen Becker turned pro in 1984. He retired from sports in 1999 and currently resides in Switzerland. He today appears in commercials, owns three Mercedes Benz dealerships and works as a tennis expert and sports commentator for BBC.
‘Schumi’ as he is sometimes affectionately referred to in German, has for many years been an extraordinarily successful Formula 1 pilot racing for Ferrari. In 2006 however he changed his red overall for a suit and retired from his career. Schumacher appears in TV commercials and enjoys playing soccer and horseback riding in his free time. He spends a lot of his fortune for charitable causes, for instance, he donated $10 million for aid after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He is married and the father of two children; the family lives in Switzerland. Michael Schumacher was born on January 3, 1969 in Hürth-Hermülheim.
Actually, his name is Karl Otto Lagerfeldt but almost certainly the fashion artist would not care to be remembered of this, since history and even the immediate past is already long passé for Lagerfeld who is firmly – and you might say fundamentally – based in the ‘now’.
Somewhat accordingly he also keeps silent about his birth year – so it’s either September 10, 1933 or 1938. Age seems obsolete anyway when you keep reinventing your surroundings. Lagerfeld is one of the most famous and popular contemporary designers in the world; his turn-over-rate of collections, inspirations and circles is astonishing. Endless energy and endless interest in the currents of lifestyle transcending the boundaries of fashion is a noteworthy trait of the Parisian by choice.
In his early teens Lagerfeld and his mother moved from Hamburg to Paris where the designer started his career. He should become the revolutionizer of Chanel eleven years after Madame Chanel’s death giving the bourgeois and ‘dead’ label a somewhat rebellious and crisp make-over.
During his career he has worked for different well-known fashion labels and also eventually launched his own brand. The fashion designer is also an avid collector of books and a photographer.
Known as actor, producer and well, hottie to some, Til Schweiger has spent some years as an actor in the United States but is now back on home soil and in the movies. Recently his romantic comedy ‘Keinohrhasen’ enchanted its audiences, as did ‘Barfuss’ before. Schweiger was born December 19, 1963 in Freiburg and initially wanted to become a teacher like his parents before him, then a doctor venturing into medicine for 3 semesters until he found his true vocation in acting. The actor, producer and model currently lives in Hamburg.
Anne-Sophie Mutter is a world-famous violinist. Though she started playing the piano at five she switched to the violin at seven and seems to have found her vocation. She turned music into her career at the age of fourteen and has since then received numerous prices and international recognition including winning more than one Grammy Award.
Mutter was born in Rheinfelden on June 29, 1963.
With ‘99 Red Balloons’ Nena flew into the international charts in the 1980s. Born as Gabriele Susanne Kerner, on May 24, 1960 in Hagen, Nena is a singer closely linked to the so-called German New Wave music of the 1980s.
In the new millennium Nena celebrated her come back. And successfully so – Critics say Nena hasn’t changed and if she has it was for the better.
Pope Benedict XVI
“Wir sind Papst!” read the euphoric headline of ‘Bild’ on April 19, 2005. The boulevard newspaper informed the whole of Germany that ‘they’ had become Pontiff clearly with a sort of cherishing and unifying ring to it.
The Bavarian cardinal Josef Alois Razinger appointed to represent the highest office at the Vatican was quite unexpected for many – including the man of God himself. The 265th Pontiff even admitted that he would have happily devoted his time to writing and studying instead but obviously gave into the vocation with bravura. Ever since his inauguration, Benedict has both received recognition and critique. Perhaps most noteworthy in terms of popular culture is the fact that the silent scholar was celebrated like a pop star at the World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005 with crowds of youths chanting ‘Benedetto!’
Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927 in the small Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn.
As an avid watcher of TV quizzes, you know him like a family member; has he been a recurrent three times a week TV fixture on RTL. As the host of ‘Wer wird Millionär?’ since 1999, Günther Jauch has reached high popularity in Germany. However, Jauch is also a sports reporter and moderator and appears in commercials. The Berliner of choice is known for his humble way of living donating a lot of his income for charities as well as for the rescue and renovation of architecture. The trained journalist was born on July 13, 1956 in Münster but grew up in Berlin where he today lives with his wife and four children.
After being discovered in Düsseldorf’s club ‘Checker’s’, blond beauty Claudia Schiffer became one of the most successful models of the 1980s.
Schiffer was born on August 25, 1970 in Rheinberg and originally wanted to become a lawyer like her father before she was discovered and contracted by the model agency ‘Metropolitan’ in 1987. One year later she appeared on the ‘Chanel’ catwalks, became head designer Karl Lagerfeld’s muse and the ‘face’ of the company. Lagerfeld dropped her little charmingly many years afterwards. But Schiffer nonetheless fruitfully managed her career with continuing success on the cat walks and as a photo model. Today she is a spokeswoman for L’Oreal among other things. For a few years Claudia Schiffer had been in a relationship with David Copperfield but is now married to the film producer Matthew Vaughn. She is the mother of two children and lives in London.