Doris Schade has died at the age of 88 in Munich surrounded by her family. Born on May 21, 1924 in the Thuringian town of Bad Frankenhausen, she grew up in the Soviet Union and Japan, where her father worked as an engineer. She returned to Germany at the age of nine.
Her stage career lasted over 60 years and began in 1946, when she was cast as Luise in Schiller’s Cabal and Love in Osnabrück. In 1962, after a series of engagements at different German-language theaters, Fritz Kortner invited her join the Munich Kammerspiele ensemble. There she spent a decade before moving to the Hamburg Schauspielhaus for five years in 1972. It was during this time that she met Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who cast her in his television production for NDR of WOMEN IN NEW YORK in 1977. She went on to act alongside Fassbinder in Douglas Sirk’s short film BOURBON STREET BLUES, which Sirk made in 1978 for the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF). In VERONIKA VOSS (1981) she plays the role of Josefa, the partner and receptionist of the neurologist Dr. Marianne Katz, played by Annemarie Düringer. Schade also appeared in a number of films directed by Margarethe von Trotta, including MARIANNE AND JULIANE (DIE BLEIERNE ZEIT, 1981), SHEER MADNESS (HELLER WAHN, 1982/83), ROSA LUXEMBURG (1985/86) and, for the last time, in ROSENSTRASSE (2002/03).
At least since her second engagement at the Munich Kammerspiele from 1977 onwards, Doris Schade was regarded as the theater’s grand dame. In 1986 she became the first recipient of the Gertrud Eysoldt Ring, which is awarded annually for an outstanding performance in German-language theater. In 1993 she received the Federal Cross of Merit and in 1999 the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art. In 2002 she was awarded the Bavarian Theater Prize in recognition of her lifetime achievements. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung to mark her eightieth birthday, Schade was asked if acting as an occupation brought her happiness, to which she responded, “I’m less unhappy when I’m acting.”
She appeared on stage for the last time in 2007 in a concert given by Franz Wittenbrink entitled “For All Pleasure Aspires to Eternity.”
Photo left: © Filmfront
Photo right: © 2006 dpa