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Gisela May

Gisela May German actress

German actress
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German actress
Was Actor Singer Stage actor Film actor
From Germany Germany Germany Germany
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 31 May 1924, Wetzlar
Death 2 December 2016, Berlin (aged 92 years)
Gisela May
The details

Gisela May (31 May 1924 – 2 December 2016) was a German actress and singer.

Early life

May was born in Wetzlar, Germany. Her mother Kate May was a writer, and her father Ferdinand May was a writer. She studied at the drama school in Leipzig from 1942 to 1944. She was employed for nine years at various theatres, including the State Theatre of Schwerin and the State Theatre in Halle. Starting in 1951, she performed at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, where she played a variety of roles.


In 1962, May moved to Bertolt Brecht's theatre group, the Berliner Ensemble, and stayed for 30 years. While there she played a variety of roles, including Madame Cabet in The Days of the Commune, Mrs Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, Mrs Kopecka in Schweik in the Second World War, and Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children.

May was known as a diverse performer. In the 1970s she performed the lead role in the musical Hello, Dolly! in Berlin, and later she starred in the television series Addelheid and her Murderers. She also performed solo concerto concerts internationally, including at New York's Carnegie Hall and the Milan Scala.

From 1992, she free-lanced, often working at Berlin's Renaissance Theatre.


  • 1962 Clara-Zetkin-Medaille
  • 1991 Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Award) Film Award in Gold for outstanding individual achievement: Category actress for: Die Hallo-Sisters (1990)
  • 2004 Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany)

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