Ulrike Folkerts, Actress
Ulrike Folkerts is the longest-serving female detective inspector in German television. In her role as Lena Odenthal, the 47-year-old actress has starred in the German cult detective series Tatort, or Crime Scene.
Ulrike Folkerts has been playing Lena Odenthal for almost 20 years - a tough-talking detective superintendent in Germany’s legendary police series "Tatort". Her most famous movie, the comedy "Over My Dead Body", likewise saw her depicting a strong-willed, modern woman - in this case so emancipated that she plans to kill her husband.
The Lena Odenthal character certainly stands out in a sea of blond TV starlets and is a popular figure among both men and women - as is reflected in her Tatort episodes' repeatedly high ratings and various Ulrike Folkerts fan clubs. She so far has over 40 shows under her belt - with no sign yet of Odenthal resigning. She was even chosen by the public as favorite TV detective at Germany's Bambi media prize awards in 2002.
Folkerts attributes her choice of career to a school teacher who inspired her to try her luck in the dramatic arts. She first had to undergo a seemingly endless series of auditions for acting courses in Berlin, Munich and other cities before securing a place in Hanover. Right after graduation she was hired by the renowned Staatstheater in Oldenburg. It was then that she heard the "Tatort" team were casting for a new female detective.
Ulrike Folkerts still performs on stage. In 2005 she became the first woman to play "Death" in the Salzburg Theatre Festival’s production of "Everyman".
The 47-year-old is also a sporting enthusiast. The 2002 Gay Games in Sydney saw Folkerts, who is openly homosexual, win bronze and silver medals with her Berlin swimming team; she also picked up a bronze at the 2004 Eurogames in Munich.
Ulrike Folkerts is also actively involved in various charity projects. She has joined the campaign calling for a universal ban on landmines and in June 2004 attended Handicap International projects in Kosovo.
Other areas of activity include support for people with Down syndrome and a project assisting street children in Burundi.