Gisela May

Gisela May
Gisela May (1979).jpg
May in 1979
Born(1924-05-31)31 May 1924
Wetzlar, Rhine Province, Germany
Died2 December 2016(2016-12-02) (aged 92)
Berlin, Germany
Alma materAcademy of Arts, Berlin
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1951–2007
AwardsOrder of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2004)
May-Gisela Unterschrift-2009.jpg

Gisela May (31 May 1924 – 2 December 2016) was a German actress and singer.[1]

Early life

May was born in Wetzlar, Germany. Both her mother, Kate May, and her father, Ferdinand May, were writers. She studied at the drama school in Leipzig from 1942 to 1944.[1] 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.[1]


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.[1]

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.[2] She also performed solo concerto concerts internationally, including at New York's Carnegie Hall and the Milan Scala.[3]

From 1992, she freelanced, often working at Berlin's Renaissance Theatre.[citation needed]


  • 1962 Clara-Zetkin-Medaille[4]
  • 1991 Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Award) Film Award in Gold for outstanding individual achievement: Category actress for: Die Hallo-Sisters [de] (1990)[5]
  • 2004 Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany)[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Berliner Ensemble: Gisela May ist tot". Die Zeit. 2 December 2016. ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Schauspielerin Gisela May gestorben". (in German). Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  3. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. ""Königin des Brecht-Theaters": Gisela May ist gestorben". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  4. ^ Akademie der Künste: Gisela May – Auszeichnungen und Preise
  5. ^ Awards, IMDb. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
  6. ^ "Muddi Courage". Retrieved 3 December 2016.

External links

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