Günther Kaufmann 16 June 1947, Munich – 10 May 2012, Berlin
Obit via Wetern Booth Hill
German film actor best known for his association with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Fassbinder directed Kaufmann in a total of 14 films, casting him in leading and minor roles. Kaufmann was also romantically involved with the director for a time.
He died while walking in the Grunewald district of heart failure, the newspaper said. The actor, who in 2009 went to RTL “jungle camp” and at one time was wrongly imprisoned for murder was 64 years old.
“The White Negro of Hasenbergl” – the title of his autobiography – grew up the son of a U.S. Army soldier and a German mother in Hasenbergl quarter of Munich. In the 70s and 80s, he starred in 16 Rainer-Werner Fassbinder films, including “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” “The Marriage of Maria Braun” and “Querelle”. In the ’90s he had roles in TV series including “Derrick” and “The Old Man”.
In 2002, Kaufmann was accused of murder in relation to the 2001 death of Hartmut Hagen, a 60-year old accountant whom Kaufmann’s wife had defrauded. The death was ruled accidental, though Kaufmann was sentenced to prison for lesser crimes relating to the incident. In 2005, a new police investigation discovered that Kaufmann was innocent, and had confessed to the crimes to cover up for his late wife, who may have been the perpetrator. He was subsequently released from prison and resumed his acting career.
Relationship with Fassbinder
Though Kaufmann was married when he met Fassbinder, the two men began a romantic relationship. Kaufmann is often described as the first major love interest of the director’s career. Like many of Fassbinder’s relationships, it was troubled, and the director would often try to buy Kaufmann’s affection with expensive presents, particualrly cars. (via wiki)