Thomas Gottschalk, 2010
|Born||) 18 May 1950
Thomas Johannes Gottschalk (born 18 May 1950) is a German TV host. He is best known for hosting the popular show Wetten, dass..?, which he has led to a huge success in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol.
Gottschalk was born in the German city of Bamberg, Upper Franconia as the son of a lawyer. After attending the Humanistisches Gymnasium (humanities-oriented high school) in Kulmbach, he studied history and German philology, eventually taking his exams as a teacher for primary and secondary schools; however, it was during this time that he discovered his true vocation: entertainment.
From 1971 on, Gottschalk worked as a freelancer for the youth program of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting); in 1973, he became anchor for a news program. In 1976, after a brief detour to the newspaper Münchner Merkur, he became a regular employee of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, and subsequently gained popularity as the host of the show Pop nach acht. He was awarded the Kurt-Magnus-Preis for his "outstanding talents" as a radio host in 1978.
His career continued with him hosting the TV show Telespiele from 1977 onwards; the show was first broadcast on the Bayerischer Rundfunk's television channel, and switched to the national public ARD channel in 1980. From 1982 to 1987, Gottschalk hosted the show Na sowas on ZDF, and was subsequently awarded the Goldene Kamera (golden camera) in 1985. During the period he also starred in several german buddy comedy films opposite Mike Krüger.
Gottschalk quickly gained popularity, a trend that only increased when he replaced Frank Elstner as a host on Wetten, dass..? in 1987, which he continued until Dec. 3, 2011, with only a brief interruption from 1992 to 1994 when the show was taken over by Wolfgang Lippert. He officially withdrew from hosting the show, largely due to an accident on Wetten, dass..?. This incident unfortunately led to a young gymnast paralyzed from the shoulders down after being hit by a car he was proposing to jump over on spring-like contraptions. After his final performance on Wetten, dass..? and following a moving final speech, Thomas promised his audience to remain faithful to show business.
From 1992 to 1995, Gottschalk also hosted a late night show on television, Gottschalk Late Night, and while it was not very successful, it paved the way for other shows such as the Harald Schmidt Show, TV Total and the Johannes B. Kerner Show. Gottschalk Late Night also featured the Model '92 Competition during 1992, in which Heidi Klum was the winner and received a modeling contract and winning prize, paving the way for her modeling career.
Gottschalk has been awarded a number of prizes for his work; apart from those mentioned above. These include the Telestar in 1987, the Goldenes Schlitzohr (golden rascal) and the Goldenes Kabel (golden cable) in 1991, as well as the Goldene Feder (golden feather) in 2001. He also received a total of three Bambi awards, which he gave back in 1988 after a dispute with the publisher Burda; however, in 2001, he was awarded a "Bambi of honor" which he accepted.
Gottschalk has been married to his wife Thea since 1976. He has two sons, Roman and Tristan and one grandson (born 2010).
Gottschalk has also starred in several films during his career, with varying success. In November 2004, he bought Castle Marienfels in Remagen, Germany, where he currently lives. He has had a secondary residence in Malibu, California, since the beginning of the 1990s.
- Piratensender Powerplay (1981)
- Die Supernasen (1983)
- Zwei Nasen tanken Super (1984)
- Die Einsteiger (1985)
- Zärtliche Chaoten (1987, English as Lovable zanies)
- Think Big (1990)
- Eine Frau namens Harry (1990, English as Harry and Harriette)
- Trabbi goes to Hollywood (1991, English as Driving me crazy)
- Sister Act 2 (1993) – Gottschalk starred as a consequence of leading actress Whoopi Goldberg losing a bet in Gottschalk's gameshow Wetten, dass..? He plays the sausage-obsessed German cook, Father Wolfgang.
- Late Show (1999)
- 1½ Knights – In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde (2008)
- Zookeeper (2011)