Hildegard Knef: Chronology of her life 1960 – 1969

The author is not responsible for the correctness of the following information.



April 30, 1960:

Marlene Dietrich – arriving for a concert evening in Berlin – is greeted by Hildegard Knef at the city’s Tempelhof airport.

June 4, 1960:

Returns to Schlosspark Theater to star in the play Der Nerz (originally “Marius”) by Félicien Marceau, director: Harry Meyen (Romy Schneider’s then husband).

Film director Fritz Lang plans to cast Hildegard Knef in his last movie “Die tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse” (“The Shadow vs. the Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse”) but is replaced by Dawn Addams; David Cameron has a small supporting part.

July 14, 1960:

German television airs Hildegard Knef’s performance of Jean Cocteau’s one-woman-play Die geliebte Stimme (“The Human Voice”); the play is released on LP; “Der Spiegel” criticises the staging: “[The staging] showed that it does not need much to hunt down a talent.”

Autumn 1960:

Six-week vacation with David Cameron in Tangiers, Morocco; shortly before, Hildegard Knef learns that the US tax authorities claim back about 65,000 dollars for the years 1954 – 1956; her agent Harry Heidemann clarifies that she hasn’t got the means to pay the amount and recommends her to do as many films as possible.

Winter 1960:

Her serious financial situation – aggravated by high treatment expenses for her sick mother – forces her to sell personal belongings in a pawnshop: “My last valuables were a mink coat and some jewellery, for which I got 3,000 D-marks” (interview in “Quick” magazine, 43/1964).


January 12, 1961:

In Minden, Westphalia, première of Garson Kanin’s play Nicht von gestern (“Born Yesterday”), a tour production through Germany, directed by Karl-Heinz Schroth for “Tourneetheater Berliner Schaubühne”, co-starring David Cameron; on August 1st the play is shown in Berlin’s Theater am Kurfürstendamm; the tour is a tremendous success with critics and audiences alike.

May 1961:

In Hamburg , shooting for the TV production Golden Boy; during that time beginning of her life-long friendship with US author Henry Miller.

August 1961:

Guest of honour at the “Deutsch-amerikanisches Volksfest” (“German-American Folk Festival”).

August 14, 1961:

The day after the erection of the Berlin Wall, Hildegard Knef and David Cameron move to Pöcking beside Lake Starnberg near Munich .

October 10, 1961:

Opening night of the Italian film La strada dei giganti; in 1964, Hildegard Knef describes it as an “atrocious, ghastly film”.

November 1961:

The tour of Nicht von gestern ends in Munich .

December 22, 1961:

In Munich , her mother Frieda dies of cancer, at age 65.


Early January 1962:

In Los Angeles , Hildegard Knef – declared “special envoy” by the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Willy Brandt – opens an exhibition on life in the divided city.

Mid-January 1962:

In Vienna , shooting starts for the film version of Frank Wedekind’s play Lulu. The movie flops (“Theater heute”, 9/162: “[Hildegard Knef] acts much too declamatory.”).

April 16, 1962:

First German recordings since 1951, Er war nie ein Kavalier and ...und der Mann mit der Harmonika; first co-operation with Austrian composer/lyricist Charly Niessen; she promotes it in her first TV appearance as chanteuse, on the programme Aktuelle Schaubude (to which she will return many times in the coming years); the record proves to be a success.

April 30, 1962:

In Percha on Lake Starnberg, Hildegard Knef marries David Cameron, who was divorced 8 months before; the date was set by her astrologer, Carroll Righter; at first, the newly-weds move to a 16-room-villa in Percha, Am Mühlberg 2, then, in 1965, temporarily to a house in Wolfratshausen, to finally settle at “Villa Berkenhof” in Kempfenhausen beside Lake Starnberg.

Summer 1962:

Shoots the French films Landru and Ballade pour un voyou; while in Paris , she befriends couturier Pierre Balmain, who will later design the gowns for her 1966 and 1968 chanson tours.

July 22, 1962:

German magazine “Bravo” quotes Hildegard Knef with a statement on TV productions: “I have high esteem for television, simply, because TV offers me good roles. And also because TV productions in Germany are done in a much more diligent and precise manner than elsewhere.”

October 22, 1962:

New collaboration with director Wolfgang Staudte, for the re-make of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Dreigroschenoper (a German-French co-production, shot at the UfA studios in Tempelhof , Berlin ).


January 1963:

First performance as chanteuse in front of a live audience, at the so-called “Treibjagd-Ball” (“Hunters’ Ball”) of Munich’s famous gossip columnist Hannes Obermaier; she is presented by actor Karl Schönböck and performs Macky Messer and Seeräuber-Jenny; both songs are released on 7” that same month; the recording is financed by Knef herself (25,000 DM) as several record companies refused to release it.

February 28, 1963:

Première of Die Dreigroschenoper at Munich ’s “Gloria Palast”; at that time, it is Germany ’s most expensive post-war film production (at 4 million DM); the soundtrack was released shortly before; the movie fails with audiences, though.

In Paris , shooting of the French-Italian-Spanish co-production Gibraltar.

August 1963:

Her first LP, So oder so ist das Leben, is released and reaches number 8 on the German pop charts.

Her first German TV shows as chanteuse are being aired, Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin and Portrait in Musik.

October 24, 1963:

German opening night of the French-Italian co-production Caterina di Russia starring Knef as Russian tsarina Catherine; the film was shot in the spring of 1962, in Rome (in an interview in 1999, she expresses her regret to have participated in the movie).

November 12, 1963:

In Munich , première of the German-Austrian co-production Das große Liebesspiel.


In South Africa , shooting for the British-South African co-production Mozambique.

January 27, 1964:

In Hamburg , shooting begins for the film Wartezimmer zum Jenseits; location shots are done in London and Trieste , Italy ; the shooting wraps up on March 8.

February 1964:

Her album Die großen Erfolge is released; it spends 8 weeks on Germany ’s Top Ten.

February 28, 1964:

German opening night of the French film Ballade pour un voyou (“Der dunkelgrüne Koffer”).

April 23, 1964:

Première of Wartezimmer zum Jenseits at Stuttgart ’s “Gloria Palast”.

June 15, 1964

Shooting begins for the German film production Verdammt zur Sünde / Die Festung,

Summer 1964:

In Berlin , recording work for her album Hildegard Knef .

Late summer 1964:

First works on her book Der geschenkte Gaul (“The Gift Horse”); however, she stops with “Liebeserklärung an einen Großvater” (“Declaration of Love for a Grandfather”), later to become it’s first chapter; the manuscript remains untouched for 4 years.

September 1964:

German magazine “twen” publishes an article written by Hildegard Knef, Er ist mein großer Freund(He is a great friend of mine), in which she remembers how she met US writer Henry Miller – it’s one of her first major publications as a writer.

September 25, 1964:

German première of Gibraltar.

November 1964:

Her second album is released, simply called Hildegard Knef .

Her first American album is released, Germany’s Hildegard Neff.

In Monte Carlo , Monaco , Knef is awarded the “Golden Gramophone”.


February 2, 1965:

In Munich, opening night for the German theatre tour of William Hanley’s play Mrs. Dally, also starring Günter Pfitzmann and Volker Lechtenbrink, directed by David Cameron Palastanga; the tour is a critical and commercial success and runs till summer; it is released on record and aired on TV.

March 1965:

Release of her LP Hildegard Knef spricht und singt Tucholsky.

Summer 1965:

Hildegard Knef writes her first song lyrics, Werden Wolken alt? , released on record in February, 1966.


February 1966:

The first LP with all song lyrics written by herself is released, Ich seh die Welt durch deine Augen; the record is a huge success and spends 16 weeks in the German Top 10, peaking at number 3.

Spring 1966:

In Paris , Knef does a fashion sequence with photographer Rico Puhlmann – whom she becomes friends with – for the April edition of German magazine “Constanze”.

February 27, 1966:

In Wolfsburg, begin of her first concert tour, Hildegard Knef singt Lieder + Chansons, directed by her husband, David Cameron Palastanga, and accompanied by the Günter Noris quintet; she does more than 40 shows and on March 28 performs at Berlin’s Philharmonie, thus becoming the first non-classical act to do so (on account of her good relationship to the hall’s master, conductor Herbert von Karajan); even US magazine “Newsweek” reviews the tour, and a TV production about one day on the tour, Um 8 fängt unser Leben an, directed by her husband, too, is aired on November 11, 1966 on the German ZDF channel.

June 1966:

An accompanying LP, Die neue Knef – Tournee LIVE, is released and spends 44 weeks on the charts, with 20 weeks on the Top Ten, peaking at number 2 on July 15, 1966.

Summer 1966:

Extensive vacation in Acapulco , Mexico .


March 1967:

Her album Halt mich fest is released, a result of her first collaboration with Viennese composer Hans Hammerschmid; the record reaches the Top Five on the German LP chart.

Autumn 1967:

Shooting for the British film production The Lost Continent; whilst in London , she and her husband live in Mount Street , Mayfair .

November 1967:

In London, Hildegard Knef suffers from a skin rash that apparently cannot be cured by conventional medicine; she consults a spiritual healer, Gordon Turner, who is able to help her and furthermore tells her that she is pregnant; her marriage is in crisis and her husband David is not enthused by her pregnancy; later, Knef admits it wasn’t a planned child for her, either.


February 1968:

Release of her album träume heißen du, featuring songs by Cole Porter only (German translation by Mischa Mleinek).

May 16, 1968:

In Munich, Hildegard Knef gives birth to her daughter Christina Antonia (“Tinta”); Knef’s life is temporarily in danger (she is 42 years old at the time); she suffers from hepatitis due to blood transfusions; the child is seven weeks early, it is delivered by Caesarean section and suffers from oxygen deficiency that causes cerebral palsy; it takes 4 weeks before Knef can see her daughter for the first time, 6 weeks until she can hold her in her arms.

Mid-October 1968:

Christina is baptised by an evangelical priest at her parents’ home; astrologer Carroll Righter is one of her godfathers and correctly prophesises that she will never become an actress like her mother.

October 27, 1968:

Start of a concert tour with the Kurt Edelhagen orchestra (38 shows, in Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Bonn, Nuremberg, Frankfurt amongst others); shortly afterwards release of a concert double-LP, knef concert, that spends 8 weeks on the national Top Ten; the album was recorded on October 22nd and 24 in a Cologne studio, with added applause.

November 13, 1968:

In Munich ’s “ Deutsches Museum ”, Knef is awarded the “Golden Record” for the sale of 3 million LPs; she is voted “best German-speaking female singer”, too.

November 26, 1968:

The tour’s Berlin concert takes place yet again at the city’s Philharmonie; in July, 1969, a recording of that concert, Die Knef – Bericht über ein Konzert, is shown on German TV.

November 1968:

The original version of what was to become one of her most famous songs, Für mich soll's rote Rosen regnen, is released on record; three different versions will be released in 1979, 1992 (with the rock band Extrabreit) and 1999.

Mid-December 1968:

The tour ends in Göttingen; at the farewell party for cast and crew, her friend Will Tremper – one of the editors of the magazine “Jasmin” – suggests to continue work on her memoirs and to publish excerpts in his periodical (where they are published in a series starting in the March 30, 1970, edition).


January 1969:

While visiting Carroll Righter in Los Angeles , Knef suffers from late effects of her delivery, but she procrastinates the necessary operation.

March 1, 1969:

Continuation of her work on Der geschenkte Gaul; after resuming her writing at “Villa Berkenhof”, Kempfenhausen, she moves to “Villa Belvair” in St Moritz, Switzerland; at years’ end she moves again – because of hypersensitivity to foehn winds – to “Chesa Bodmer” in Samedan, not far away; Knef receives letters threatening her life and she is therefore permitted to carry a pistol; she and her daughter are given two bodyguards that she keeps for several years.

June 1969:

She presents her manuscript to Austrian publisher Fritz Molden who is exalted and assures her the book’s publication.

December 10, 1969:

In Berlin , concert appearance at a party for readers of Germany ’s biggest newspaper, “Bild”.

December 1969:

Concert in Amsterdam , The Netherlands, after being awarded the “Edison prize” for best song lyrics and for being the most popular singer in Europe (in later years, she characterised it as “by far the most wonderful [award]”).