On the 30th anniversary of Walter Sedlmayr's death
He was gay. At a time when "that was not proper, however", there was little or no talk about this. Instead, people loved the impeccable image they could associate with Walter Sedlmayr. His career took off especially in the 1970s. In 1990 he was murdered.
Until his death and far beyond, many viewers found it difficult to see that Walter Sedlmayr's world was not as bourgeois or conservative as it often seemed.
A gay actor in the 1970s?
Sedlmayr became known to the wider public mainly because of his roles in "Tatort" and "Millionenbauer". Sometimes one had the impression that he wanted to break away from the image of the classical actor. How happy (or unhappy) he actually was with his image and what the audience expected of him was certainly something only he knew.
The pressure on him because of his homosexuality must also have been immense. After all, public coming outs, such as those often admired today, were definitely not yet the rule back then. A "Yes, I am gay!" could have meant the end of his career.
Within the Scene however, his homosexuality was an open secret.
Journalists report - Sedlmayr's homosexuality in the public eye
Walter Sedlmayr was brutally murdered. What is striking, however, is that after his death, it is above all his homosexuality that is the subject of discussion in the press. It almost seemed as if the public had waited until he himself had no more to say about this. Position could obtain.
At the same time, many fans were shocked. After all, a gay actor from Bavaria did not fit into their world view.
The attempt to solve the murder in the end, however, is actually reminiscent of a real detective story. In the end, Sedlmayr's business partners were convicted. However, both repeatedly stated that they were innocent. In the end, however, the evidence then spoke against the theory that the actor might have been murdered by hustlers.
The investigations that took place in this context represented a kind of turning point in Bavarian criminal history. Research was extremely extensive and in all directions. Probably also because the interest in solving the case on the part of the public was extremely high.
A horrific murder and a sobering realisation
The murder of Walter Sedlmayr was terrible, cruel and an act full of hate. Nevertheless, the shock about the actor's homosexuality seemed to run deeper in many Munich residents than the dismay about the act itself.
This aspect provides a frightening picture of the challenges gay people had to deal with in the course of the 1970s.
Whoever now thinks that times have changed in this respect could be mistaken. Especially in the field of sports, there are always homosexual athletes who do not dare to publicly admit their inclinations.
Even if the scepticism towards gays and lesbians is accordingly played out on a different level today, artists and athletes are still likely to be able to identify with Sedlmayr's emotional world.
30 years after his death, the charismatic actor remains unforgotten. Series and films show him as his fans liked him. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always bourgeois. Let's hope that Walter Sedlmayr - looking back - would describe his life as "happy" despite all the circumstances.
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