Ursula "Uschi" Obermaier (September 24, 1946) is a former fashion model and actress associated with the 1968 left-wing movement in Germany. She is considered an iconic sex symbol of the so-called "1968 generation" and the protests of 1968.
Obermaier and Kommune 1
Uschi Obermaier was born in Sendling, a suburb of Munich, Germany. She started an apprenticeship as a photo-restorer but gave it up to become a model. She was discovered by the magazine Twen. After a successful photo-shoot with photographer Guido Mangold in Cameroon, she became its top model and internationally famous. She went on to work for other magazines and top photographers such as Helmut Newton. Slim and petite, but feminine, she represented a new type of model and posed nude from the front for the first time on a magazine cover.
In Munich, Obermaier was briefly involved with Pamir survivor Othello (a.k.a. Rudolf Liebzeit). She was briefly a member of the Munich-based experimental commune/band Amon Düül around 1968/69 and lived in their commune. She met communard Rainer Langhans at a concert at the end of 1968 and she soon moved from Munich to the Berlin-based Kommune 1 after Langhans became her boyfriend. They talked openly to the media about their relationship, becoming symbols of the sexual revolution. They became the German version of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Kommune 1 was the first politically motivated commune in Germany, and Obermaier's name is most intimately connected with the 1960s student rebellions in the minds of many Germans. However, she later said that she had no particular interest in politics, and that she moved into Kommune 1 simply to be close to Langhans. Photos of her at political demonstrations and with members of the Kommune appeared in all the popular magazines of the time.
After the end of Kommune 1 in 1969, Langhans and Obermaier moved to the Highfisch-Kommune in Munich.
Life after Kommune 1
In 1973, Uschi Obermaier fell in love with Dieter Bockhorn, the wealthy owner of a club in Hamburg's Reeperbahn red-light district.
Obermaier went on the Rolling Stones' 1975 tour and is said to have had affairs with both Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, as well as with Jimi Hendrix – a visitor to Kommune 1 – with whom she can be seen kissing and cuddling farewell outside his West Berlin hotel Kempinski in the movie Last Experience.
Obermaier and Bockhorn traveled the world in a customized bus, first spending three years in Asia, then going to Mexico and the U.S. for another three years. Obermaier said in an interview (Galore, Issue 25) that reports that she and Bockhorn had a traditional wedding in every country they traveled in were untrue. They married only once, in India. Their relationship ended abruptly after ten years when Dieter Bockhorn died in a motorcycle accident in Mexico on New Year's Eve, 1983.
Uschi Obermaier was granted American citizenship. Today, she lives in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles, and works as a jewellery designer.
Biography and films
The authorized biography of Obermaier's life, High Times, was written by Obermaier and Olaf Kraemer. The book reached third place on the best seller list and stayed there for five months.
This biography was adapted into a film biopic, Eight Miles High (original German title: Das Wilde Leben). The controversial movie was directed by Achim Bornhak and released in February 2007. The movie was reclassified by distributors from PG 16 to PG 12 and reached number ten at the box office. The aggregate film review website Metacritic awarded it a score of 32, based on 10 reviews.
Obermaier played alongside Iris Berben in Rudolf Thome's Detektive(1968). She was the protagonist of Rote Sonne (1969). She also played a small role alongside Rainer Langhans in Haytabo, and portrayed Marlene in the film adaptation of the novel Blutrausch.
- She played maracas in the band Amon Düül, aka Amon Düül I, on two albums: Collapsing (1970, released by Metronome) and Disaster (1972, released by BASF).
- Uschi Obermaier: Das wilde Leben, Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-455-08603-9, (Autobiography)
- Olaf Kraemer, Uschi Obermaier: High Times – Mein wildes Leben (Autobiography), Heyne Verlag, München 2007, ISBN 978-3-453-13010-4.
- Uschi Obermaier: Expect Nothing! Die Geschichte einer ungezähmten Frau. Riemann Verlag 2013, ISBN 978-3-570-50156-6, (Autobiography, in German)