TV producer legend Karl Spiehs celebrates his 90th birthday

Not only did he have the right nose for high-quality entertainment with his “super noses”: Karl Spiehs (also: Carl Spiehs), one of the most successful film and television series producers in German-speaking countries, is celebrating his 90th birthday today, Saturday. ORF 2 dedicates a program focus to the jubilee, who was responsible for popular hits like “Die Supernasen” or “Ein Schloss am Wörthersee”.

More than 300 cinema and TV productions can be found in Spiehs’ catalog. Born on February 20, 1931, the Lower Austrian came into contact with the world of the stage as a young man. As a teenager, he organized smaller concerts and readings in his parents’ inn in the town of Ternitz, for which he was able to engage Paul Hörbiger and Hans Moser, among others. The young Spiehs gained further experience in the Renaissance theater for the Löwingerbühne and in the music recording management of the Wiener Stadthalle, and in the 1950s he worked as an assistant to Franz Antel.

When he joined the production company “Lisa Film”, founded by Paul Löwinger in Munich in 1964 and still in existence today, of which he later became sole owner, Spiehs’ career finally began. Film and series hits such as “Always Trouble with the Paukern”, “The Super Noses”, “When the Great Aunts Come”, “A Castle on Lake Wörthersee”, “Clinic under Palms” or “The Pound Guy” emerged. The star parade appearing in it ranged from Roy Black and Uschi Glas to Thomas Gottschalk and Mike Krüger to Ottfried Fischer.

Spiehs himself hardly ever made a secret of the fact that harmless slapstick with a penchant for trash were largely his profession. He once said in an interview that he had “no educational mandate” but wanted to “produce entertainment”. Or as Thomas Gottschalk, one of the “super noses” leading actors, once said on the occasion of a laudation: “He made the critics cry and the audience laugh.”

Nonetheless, or precisely because of this, the jubilee was honored with a number of prizes, including the Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the State of Vienna in 2002, the Platinum Romy for his life’s work in 2015 and the Great Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2018.

For its milestone birthday, ORF 2 Spiehs is devoting a detailed program focus today from 9:05 a.m. In addition to six feature films from “When my sweetheart hits the drum” and “Zwei Nasen tanken Super” to “Grandma against Will” with Christiane Hörbiger and Peter Weck, the documentary “Everyone loves Karli Spiehs – On the trail of a legend” repeated by companion Otto Retzer from 2017. The two-part crime thriller “The Return of the Dance Teacher” based on the novel by Henning Mankell with Tobias Moretti, Veronica Ferres and Maximilian Schell will conclude from 11.30 p.m. The flick was awarded a Romy for Best TV Film in 2004.

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