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The Bambi, often simply called Bambi Awards and stylised as BAMBI, are presented annually by Hubert Burda Media to recognise excellence in international media and television "with vision and creativity who affected and inspired the German public that year," both domestic and foreign. First held in 1948, they are the oldest media awards in Germany. The award is named after Felix Salten's book Bambi, A Life in the Woods and its statuettes are in the shape of the novel's titular fawn character. They were originally made of porcelain, until 1958 when the organizers switched to using gold, with the casting done by the art casting workshop of Ernst Strassacker in Süßen.
Marika Rökk and Jean Marais were the first recipients of the award. Frequent awardees include Heinz Rühmann (12), Peter Alexander and O. W. Fischer (10), Sophia Loren (9), Maria Schell (8). Rock Hudson (6), Franz Beckenbauer, Pierre Brice (5) and Céline Dion (3). The awards are judged by Hubert Burda and the editors-in-chief at Hubert Burda Media.
In 2002 Michael Jackson won the Pop Artist of the Millennium Award.
Award recipients in 2009 included Colombian singer/songwriter and choreographer Shakira, actress Kate Winslet, Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, and Giorgio Armani, whose niece Roberta Armani accepted the award for him. Shakira performed her single "Did It Again" before accepting her award.
The Bambi originated in 1948. The first prize winners were the actors Jean Marais and Marika Rökk, as well as the DEFA-director Prof. Kurt Maetzig. His movie Ehe im Schatten (Marriage in the Shadows) was chosen for the best German movie. At the 60th jubilee of the Bambi in 2008, the co-founder of the DEFA, who celebrated his 100th birthday on 25 January 2011, received a duplicate of a porcelain Bambi, because the original was broken.
The award was first a fawn made of white porcelain, which was produced in the Majolika Manufaktur in Karlsruhe by the sculptor Else Bach (1899-1952). Since 1958 the golden-bronze deer has been produced in the art foundry Ernst Strassacker in the Swabian village of Süßen. The record-holders for this award are Heinz Rühmann, Peter Alexander and O. W. Fischer, and Sophia Loren as well as Maria Schell.
According to Marika Rökks' daughter, the name Bambi is attributed to her, because she said to her mother, after she brought the prize home: "Oh, you brought a Bambi for me," inspired by the book Bambi by Felix Salten or the 1942 Disney movie with the same name.
The Bambi awards were presented in Karlsruhe between 1948 and 1964. Afterwards the Bambis were given in other cities, such as Berlin and Offenburg. In 2003 and 2004, the awards ceremony took place in the Theater am Hafen in Hamburg. 2006 the Bambi was awarded in the Museum of the Mercedes-Benz-Weltin in Stuttgart, moderated by entertainer Harald Schmidt and model Eva Padberg. In 2007, the ceremony was held in the Congress Center in Düsseldorf (CCD), and in 2008 in Offenburg. Both events were presented by Harald Schmidt. The awards in 2009 and 2010 were performed in the Metropolis-Hall in Potsdam-Babelsberg.
- "Bambi - Deutschlands Wichtigster Medienpreis" (in German). Bambi Official Website. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
- "Bambi-Verleihung 2008: Bambi Gala in Offenburg" (in German). Die TopNews. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
- "Kate Winslet, Giorgio Armani, and Shakira all win at Germany's Bambi Awards". The Independent (London). 27 November 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.