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Adieu, great Jörg Schneider!

Adieu, great Jörg Schneider!
Jörg Schneider, shown here in a picture of 2013, wrote many song lyrics and composed the music for some of them.
Photo: Christoph Kaminski
Obituary by guest author Monika Kaelin
Without a doubt, Jörg Schneider was part of the most popular actors in Switzerland. He also directed films, lent his voice to the “Kasperli” character and wrote fairy tales and musicals. As a lyricist of more than 200 songs, whose music he partially composed himself, he had been a SUISA member for a long time. At the end of August 2015, Jörg Schneider passed away, aged 80.

He had to leave us all too early. He, who always stuck to a healthy nutrition, never overdid it, but had completely committed himself to the stage. Jörg Schneider was a perfectionist, translated many pieces from English and high German into Swiss German, wrote more than 200 song lyrics, played the main part in all of his own boulevard productions, had success in TV series such as “Polizischt Wäckerli”, and in “Motel” as Koni Frei, was convincing as accountant Oskar Wehrli in the long runner soap “Lüthi und Blanc”, directed films ‘on the side’, wrote fairy tales and musicals, lent his voice to the “Kasperli” character and had to face the hard truth of suffering from untreatable cancer after 55 years on stage.

Not an easy task for such a bubbly and eager to work exceptional artist who – as a trained teacher and subsequently promoted professional actor – had originally committed himself to classics. It was in light entertainment, however, where he found his great audience and continued to delight millions of Swiss viewers over the years. The popular actor was a creative actor both in front of and behind the stage curtain who wrote, produced and stage-managed. The original Zurich-born actor was a cheerful person by nature. If something annoyed him, he got rid of the event with a sarcastic saying and a laugh.

Multi-talented exceptional artist

The versatility of exceptional artist Jörg Schneider becomes particularly evident when taking a look into his intensive artistic activities. Side by side with Ruedi Walter, Jörg Schneider played the role of Wladimir in the high-profile performance of the Beckett piece “Warte uf de Godot” in the dialect adaptation by Urs Widmer. In the summer theatre Winterthur as well as the open air theatre Hohe Promenade in Zurich, he played in many more classical theatre pieces.

In 1963, he started his TV career as a young actor in “Vico, ist’s wahr?” and travelled together with Vico Torriani through Switzerland. He had his great breakthrough with the radio play, the stage production and the TV series “Polizischt Wäckerli” from 1966 onwards.

Jörg Schneider remains unforgotten as the father of 41 Kasperli stories which enthused generations of children and still are a big hit today. He contributed to the creation of innumerable childrens’ musicals and fairy tale plays for the Zurich Märchenbühne and the Opera House Zurich.

Other places of activity in Zurich were the Schauspielhaus, the Corso Theatre, the Theatre at the Hechtplatz and, above all, the Bernhard Theatre. In the Musical “Z wie Züri”, I had the honour to play alongside him for the first time as an actress in 1976. Jörg gave me many tips during this production and explained to me, for example, how I should say something to ensure I had the punchline in the bag. His advice was the best actor’s training that I ever had the pleasure to enjoy, as I could learn directly while acting on stage.

Magnificent life’s work

In the following years, there were many more new pieces each year, which Jörg Schneider successfully performed with his ensemble in the Bernhard Theatre and on tour in Switzerland. In 2014, he finally had to break off his farewell tour with the dialect tragicomedy “Häppi Änd” due to health reasons. During this hard time of suffering and pain, he still bravely starred in the cinema movie directed by Paul Riniker, “Usfahrt Oerlike” together with Matthias Gnädinger, who also recently passed away. The film was awarded the “Prix du Public” at the 50th Solothurn Film Days where the magnificent life’s work of Jörg Schneider was honoured with standing ovations. The Prix Walo had been awarded twice to Jörg Schneider. In 1995 he received it as an actor, in 2014 for his life’s work.

In March 2015, his last work was published, the autobiography “Äxgüsi”. After his suffering as a cancer patient, Jörg Schneider peacefully fell asleep in the arms of his beloved wife Romy at home in Wetzikon for the last time on 22 August 2015, free of pain and with a smile on his face. He was a good man and colleagues and friends among actors and his audience will sorely miss him. Thank you dear Jörgli for everything what you have created for us all your life, with joy, love and dedication.

In friendship your
Monika Kaelin

Monika Kaelin is a composer, lyricist, singer, entertainer and moderator as well as theatre, music and event organiser, President of the Association Show Szene Switzerland and TV producer for the Prix Walo. She was a member of the SUISA Board between 1999 and 2015.

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