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German author and translator Harry Rowohlt
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Burgi

Author Harry Rowohlt dies

June 16, 2015

A free spirit, the author and translator of hundreds of major works died at the age of 70. He'll also be remembered for his charismatic performance style.


He translated over 200 English works into German, among them books by Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Frank McCourt, Robert Crumb, David Sedaris, James Joyce and Leonard Cohen.

His insightful and humorous translation of A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" established his reputation as a translator. "Harry Rowohlt was the first translator whose name appeared on the cover of a book, because he was so good and brilliant. He had a free spirit others didn't," explained fellow translator Ruth Keen.

German TV viewers also know him as an actor. For 20 years, Rowohlt played a hobo in the cult soap "Lindenstraße," appearing in 193 episodes. He also developed a unique style of public readings, where he'd hold a bottle of whisky and enjoy digressing for hours.

Born in Hamburg on March 27, 1945, Harry Rowohlt was the son of publisher Ernst Rowohlt and actress Maria Pierenkämper.

Diagnosed with neuropathy in 2007, he died on Monday (15.06.2015) in his home city.

eg/rf (dpa, ARD)

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