Inspector Derrick Actor Dies, Leaving Behind a World of Fans | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 15.12.2008
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Inspector Derrick Actor Dies, Leaving Behind a World of Fans

Horst Tappert became one of Germany’s few television stars to gain a loyal international following thanks to his role as the stubborn police inspector in the long-running police series "Derrick." He was 85.

Actor Horst Tappert

Tappert was one of Germany's most successful actors

“Derrick” was shown in more than 100 countries during its 20-plus years on the air. The cult series had fans in Australia, China and South Africa. It also had a strong fan following in Italy and other European nations, making Tappert one of the most internationally-recognized German actors.

Tappert's wife, Ursula, said the retired actor died in a Munich hospital on Saturday, DPA news agency reported on Monday, Dec. 15. He had been well until a few days earlier. She declined to describe his illness.

The good cop

Tappert played Stephan Derrick, a jowly, thick-lipped but compassionate cop who seemed to have seen every facet of evil in his long career. "Derrick," became a Friday night staple in Germany. There were 281 episodes produced between the show's start in the mid-1970s until the late 1990s.

Inspector Derrick solved his cases by cold reasoning rather than brute force. In a typical episode, a suspect would confess his or her guilt after the tall and quiet German police inspector would lay out his airtight case. Derrick, who wore owlish glasses, was assisted by sidekick Harry Klein.

Tappert was born in Rhineland in 1923 and was conscripted into the German army during World War II, according to AFP news agency. He began his acting career after briefly working as an accountant. He started in theatre before moving on to films and television in the late 1950s.

"I value just being alone with my wife. I don't really see old colleagues anymore, most of them are already dead. I'll be joining them soon," Tappert said in an interview with Bunte last May.

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