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Respected German actor Hans Korte dies aged 87

The Bochum-born actor will be remembered for his roles in tv series "Der grosse Bellheim" and "Der König von St Pauli." His death, on September 25th, was only confirmed on Wednesday, following the funeral.

Korte's wife, actress Barbara Rath-Korte, confirmed the 87-year-old actor's death in an obituary published on Wednesday by the German daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung."

The paper cited her as saying her husband had passed away on September 25 in Munich, and that his funeral was a private ceremony that was held on Sunday.

Many Germans will remember Korte for his trademark thick-rimmed spectacles and for his roles in major domestic TV mini-series.

Shows like "Der König von St. Pauli," (The King of St Pauli) - where he played local strip club owner Willi Bartels - and "Der grosse Bellheim" (The Great Bellheim) attracted large audiences.

But those that knew him said his first love was theatre, where he originally played Mephisto in Goethe's "Faust" among many other roles.

He even staged an opera and received critical acclaim for voicing many German language audiobooks including Bernard Schlink's "Der Vorleser" (The Reader) and Patrick Süskind's "Das Parfum" (The Perfume).

Born in Bochum in April 1929, as a child he performed with the Cologne Opera Children's choir. After studying music, he got his first break in the theater in Augsburg and Dortmund, eventually becoming a key performer and director on the Munich and Hamburg theater scenes.

His TV acting roles won him several awards, including the "Deutschen Darstellepreis" (German Actor Award) for the part of Himmler in "Der Vater eines Mörders" (The Father of a Murderer) and the Adolf-Grimme Preis (Adolf Grimme Prize), along with the Goldene Kamera (Golden Camer) for "Der große Bellheim."

Korte was married five times. He leaves a wife and two sons.

mm/bw (AFP, dpa)