Arved Birnbaum owes his success to three people: his sister, who secretly enrolled him in a drama school, the director Dominik Graf, who repeatedly cast him for his productions, and ultimately himself, his talent.
For example, Birnbaum was in Graf’s crime series In the face of crime to see as LKA department head. His investigative roles in Graf’s thrillers made him known. And also in Cologne crime scene he played a policeman in the role of Hauptmeister Obst. Otherwise he was used more for dubious roles: As a neo-Nazi Hartung in the Lindenstrasse, as the sneaky wine merchant in the thriller series Weinberg, or most recently as a seedy animal dealer in the ZDF production broadcast in August this year A case for two.
“He’s a great character actor who turns a simple supporting role into a leading role,” said Dominik Graf about him
The fact that Birnbaum, born in Lusatia in 1962, played a formative role in the German television landscape, is also thanks to himself, his hard work and his talent. At the age of 28, the trained locksmith and electrician turned his life around and dared a fresh start, all for his great dream of acting. “Life is a constant learning process – you can do anything if you just want to,” was his life motto. Because despite some depths, he made it. The Hans Otto drama school in Leipzig, where his sister enrolled him, turned him down, but the whole thing made clear to him his heart’s desire. It then worked out at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art. After completing his training, he first played at the theater in Stuttgart, Essen and Oberhausen. In 2008 again in the Theater im Bauturm in his adopted home of Cologne. At the end of the 90s he switched to the film and television industry. For his roles he has been awarded the Grimme Prize several times, for In the face of crime awarded the German television prize.
What he once learned himself, he passed on to his students. At the Schauspielzentrum Köln, which he directed until the end. “Acting is always more than just depicting characters in a play or a film. In order to play a role properly, it has to be understood and brought to life,” he is quoted on the school’s website. A motto that he followed in all of his roles. Dominik Graf once said of him: “He’s a great character actor who turns a simple supporting role into a leading role.” In addition to his talent, he was also shaped by his social streak. In 2006, together with his wife Sabine, he founded the association “Corpus eV” in order to make theater projects for disabled people, young people and children tangible. Birnbaum died on Sunday after a short, serious illness in the Cologne University Hospital.