Melaten is a cemetery for Cologne's celebrities. Celebrities such as the painter Sigmar Polke, the popular actor Willy Millowitsch or the politician Guido Westerwelle found their last resting place here. Right next to the gloomy, more than three meter high tomb for the Royal Prussian Major General Florian Freiherr von Seydlitz stands a small pink garden bench in the shade of an old plane tree. Hella is said to be sitting on it from her senses.
The TV presenter and comedian visits the final resting place of comedian and actor Dirk Bach, who died of heart failure in 2012 at the age of 51. On April 23 he would have celebrated his 60th birthday. It can be assumed that more Dirk Bach fans than usual will make the pilgrimage to the Melaten cemetery on this day.
Dirk Bach's grave: "And who is dead becomes a star"
His grave is adorned with a polished, black stone with a pink star, a forgiving contrast to the martial monument of Florian Freiherr von Seydlitz. With grave candles, knick-knacks, bouquets of flowers. The inscription "And he who is dead becomes a star" was applied to the stone in gold. The quote comes from the play "The Little King December" by Axel Hacke. Dirk Bach was to play the title role in a performance at the Schlosspark Theater in Berlin from October 6, 2012.
When he didn't come to the dress rehearsal on October 1st and didn't respond to phone calls, the director had the apartment in the apartment hotel where the Cologne Bach had stayed opened up. He was found dead, Bach had suffered from heart problems. His sudden death revealed just how popular the man, whom his friends called "Dickie", was with his audience. He had accompanied a whole generation as an actor and comedian - from "Sesame Street" and his performances as "Urmel" to the "Dirk Bach Show" and the leading roles in the ZDF series "Lukas" and "The Little Monk".
As the moderator of the jungle camp, he became a star
He became a star with cult status as the moderator of the jungle camp "I'm a star - get me out of here!" at Sonja Zietlow's side: Bach in a bush shirt and pith helmet, actually a shooting gallery character - if it weren't for the mischievous expression in his eyes and his charming, but also devilishly mischievous smile. Even for critical viewers, he was the ray of hope in this successful foreign shame show.
"We're just having a little fun with eleven people who are currently spending a few days of vacation here in the Australian rainforest, and we show ourselves as distant but well-meaning hosts," said Bach in an interview with "Spiegel Online". 2012In 2013, the "Spiegel" described him as the "majordomo of the jungle, whose talent for irony did not fail even at the sight of the worst worms. He had things under control, as if it were the easiest thing to loosen up applause - he left it to the candidates, what can be called dignity."
His comrade-in-arms Sonja Zietlow was heartbroken when she received the news of Dirk Bach's death. "No laugh can be as thrilling as yours," she wrote on her website in a letter to the deceased, "no heart as profound and no conclusion as apt as yours. And no suspension bridge can swing more beautifully than under your weight."
In the end she continued with "Dickies" and her "Baby", she didn't want to leave the jungle camp in the hands of others. When she was awarded the German Comedy Prize a year later with her new partner Daniel Hartwich for moderating the jungle camp, both rejected the award out of respect for Bach. Zietlow accepted the trophy, spray-painted it pink, and placed it next to "Dickie's" headstone. It's still there.
When Dirk Bach's grave became too small
2013 the pink bench by Hella von Sinnen, a particularly close friend of Dirk Bach, was added. The two had lived together in a shared apartment in Cologne for two years and later worked together on various projects, including the cabaret group "Stinkmäuse".
2019 there was some excitement about Dirk Bach's grave. The tombstone with the pink star was gone, and the pink comedy award was missing. Were the usual thieves at work in the Melaten cemetery? The truth was, if you will, another tragic episode of fate. Dirk Bach's grave had become too small because his partner Thomas G. had also died. The grave had to be extended to a double grave.
United with his great love Thomas
Thomas G., a computer specialist, was Bach's great love. They met in 1995. He was the opposite of Bach: tall, thin, quiet, and shy. "Everything happened very quickly with him," the entertainer is said to have once said. "You meet someone and that's it. Then someone came who loved me with all their might."
Thömchen, as Bach called him, ran the household. They were together for 17 years. Although they married in Key West in 1999, this marriage was not valid in Germany. After Bach's death, Thomas G. took care of the burial, he chose the stone and tended the grave - until his own death in spring 2019.
Now the couple rests together in the Melaten cemetery. Two black stones in the same color, the Comedy Award is back. And the pink bench invites you to linger.