Capital: € 10 million
Age: 55
Born: 12/09/1964
Country of origin: Germany
Source of wealth: actor
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Hans-Peter Wilhelm Kerkeling or Hape Kerkeling is a German comedian, actor, moderator and singer. He achieved great fame with his art figures such as Horst Schlämmer and various appearances as a moderator and comedian. Since 2014, the actor has largely withdrawn from show business.

Early life

Hape Kerkeling was born on December 9, 1964 in Recklinghausen. His father was a carpenter by profession and his mother a florist. Hape spent the first six years of his life in the Bocholt district of Recklinghausen, which was more of a rural location. The family then moved to the city in the early 1970s, where the young Hape spent most of his childhood in his grandmother’s mom and pop shop in the suburb of Herten-Scherlebeck. After his mother lost her sense of smell and taste through an operation, she committed suicide in 1973. Thereupon the paternal grandparents moved to Hape’s father and to his brother. Hape successfully graduated from high school at the Marie Curie High School in Recklinghausen and was active as an altar boy during his school days there. Even then, he gained his first musical experiences together with his classmates. His band “Gesundfutter” even released a record. The young Hape Kerkeling had his first television experience at the age of 17. He appeared on the show “Talentschuppen” and took part in various talent competitions. In 1983 Hape won the Passau Cabaret Award for the executioner’s hatchet and was subsequently active for various broadcasters.


Hape received its first own television format on December 17, 1984. The program “Kerkeling’s Children’s Hour”, co-produced by Radio-Bremen, dealt with the day-to-day school life of preschooler Hannilein and her family. All characters were played by Hape himself. With his music and sketch show “Kangaroo”, which was broadcast for the first time in January 1985, Hape finally achieved the commercially successful breakthrough. This was followed by further appearances in various show formats, among others in the program “Extratour”. According to Hape Kerkeling’s own statement, the famous comedian Otto Waalkes contributed a large part to the start of his career because he introduced Hape to important and influential people in the scene. Active from 1989 to 1991 on the ARD as moderator for the German preliminary decision for the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1989 Kerkeling continued to create the comedy format “Total Normal” in collaboration with Achim Hagemann and Angelo Colagrossi. The format was awarded the Golden Camera and the Grimme Prize for its media-critical stance. One thing that was remembered as part of the show was one event. In 1991, Hape dressed up as Queen Beatrix and drove up in front of the camera, in front of the real Queen, in a car at Belleveu Palace. In 1993 Kerkeling’s first film was released with the title “Kein Pardon”. Hape himself worked as a director and actor and was also involved in the work on the screenplay. A few more formats and acting appearances followed, but were not really successful. His media success only came back with the Sat-1 program “The world laughs at it”. Kerkeling also moderated the annual AIDS donation gala several times for the TV station Sat-1. In June 2001 Kerkeling embarked on a 630 km pilgrimage on the Spanish Way of St. James. He wrote down his experiences in his book “Ich bin bin mal mal”, which he published in 2006. The book was sold more than 3 million times and became a bestseller.

After retiring from the television world in 2014, Hape only appeared occasionally as a voice actor in animated films. His two autobiographical books “I’m going to go” and “The boy has to go to the fresh air” have both been released as feature films.

Career highlights

Hape’s media-critical program “Total Normal” is still considered his best work. The TV format has won several awards, such as the Grimme Prize, the Bavarian TV Prize, the Golden Camera and the Golden Gong. Kerkeling received the German Comedy Award in 2006 for his role as an art figure Horst Schlämmer. The setting of his book “The boy has to go to the fresh air” was awarded three times with a gold record.

Famous quotes

“I used to be thin, pretty funny, but most of all: gone!”
– Hape Kerkeling

“More sensitive natures than I would have now probably lay in the bathtub with the hair dryer. What the hell. Tomorrow they will drive another sow through the village. ”
-Hape Kerkeling

Amazing facts

Kerkeling’s astonishingly good ability to imitate sound images in different languages stems from the fact that he speaks a great many languages. Among other things, Hape is fluent in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, English and French.


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