The actor, scriptwriter, prop maker, and set designer Kurt Raab was born on July 20, 1941 in the Bohemian town of Bergreichenstein, the son of a farm hand. While attending high school at Straubing, he met the future co-founder of the Action Theater and composer for many of RWF’s films, Wilhelm Rabenbauer, a.k.a. Peer Raben. They went to Munich together, where Raab played his first role in Raben’s staging of Antigone. This was where he met Fassbinder, then co-founded the antiteater and participated in RWF’s films until 1977 as actor, co-author, and set designer. In 1971, he received the Deuscher Filmpreis (today LOLA) for his brilliant set design of WHITY.
Raab’s first film role was the lead in RWF’s WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK? (1969). He subsequently participated in numerous other RWF films and TV productions. Author of the first draft of the script for MOTHER KÜSTERS GOES TO HEAVEN (1975), he later wrote a first draft for THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN (1979) that was based on Fassbinder’s comprehensive outline.
His last collaboration with Fassbinder was the two-part TV movie BOLWIESER (1976/1977) – based on Oskar Maria Graf’s novel of the same title – where Raab played the stationmaster Xaverl Bolwieser. Other collaborations included projects with Herbert Achternbusch, Helmut Dietl, and Ulli Lommel in his film THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES (1973). Based on Raab’s own script, his personification of mass murderer Haarmann was stupendous. Beginning in 1977, he increasingly returned his focus to the theater, in Bochum, Munich, and Hamburg, and starred in numerous film and TV productions.
Kurt Raab died on June 28, 1988 in Hamburg. He was 46 years old. Today, he would have turned 70.
Photo left: Kurt Raab in RWF’s BOLWIESER, 1976/77 © RWFF
Photo right: Kurt Raab in RWF’s SATAN’S BREW, 1975 © RWFF