|Capital:||€ 90 million|
|Born:||May 18, 1950|
|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Source of wealth:||Moderator|
He has a distinctive nose, loves fancy clothes and is not outrageous – Thomas Gottschalk, veteran of television and radio entertainment and has been in business for decades.
Familiar with Hollywood, but still firmly attached to his homeland at heart. Even now, at almost 70 years old, Gottschalk has not lost its wit and youthful charm.
Thomas Gottschalk was born in Bamberg in 1950, but grew up in the Franconian province, more precisely in Kulmbach. His parents Rutila and Hans moved as refugees from Upper Silesia to Upper Franconia in the turmoil of war. Gottschalk’s mother is a housewife, takes care of him and his two younger siblings Christoph and Raphaela. His father runs his own law firm as a respected lawyer.
Gottschalk’s childhood is harmonious and carefree. He passionately does his job as an altar boy in the parish church in Kulmbach. He is 12 years old when the family has to deal with a severe blow: his father falls ill with pancreatic cancer and finally dies in 1964. Gottschalk suddenly finds himself again in the role of supporting his siblings and his mother. He tries to cheer up the family, despite all adversity, despite grief and lack of money. The entertainer appears in him.
It is only with great effort that he manages to graduate from high school. He later studied German and history at the University of Munich and wanted to become a teacher. But then his path leads him to the radio.
In 1971 Gottschalk found a job at the Bavarian radio. He is initially a freelancer, but is permanently employed there five years later. He hosts the show “Pop after eight” and stands out on the rather conservative channel through his sassy lip.
At the beginning of his radio career, Gottschalk also met his future wife, the Nuremberg Thea Hauer. The two have a son, another child is adopted. It was during this period that Gottschalk had his first experience with television, moderated the music program “Szene” and the interactive game show “Telespiele”.
Frank Elstner became aware of him and at the beginning of the 80s left him to moderate various programs for the radio program Radio Luxemburg. But finally Gottschalk returns to Bayern 3, leading a daily radio show that runs in two shifts: Gottschalk takes over the first part from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the second part is moderated by a newcomer – Günther Jauch. The two get on very well and the daily flippant exchange of blows between Gottschalk and Jauch during the five-minute “shift change” is legendary. In the coming years, the two will also moderate the international radio exhibition several times and with their jokes will outshine the actual purpose of the event.
1982 Gottschalk is hired by ZDF for the TV moderation of the music program “Thommys Popshow”. After that, in 1984, “Na sowas!” Follows, a combination of interviews and music. Gottschalk receives many celebrities in the program. Even complicated stars like Klaus Kinski don’t embarrass him.
In 1987 Frank Elstner came back to Gottschalk. Until then, Elstner had successfully played the game show “Wetten dass ..?” moderated, which he created himself. Now Gottschalk should take over the legacy. In “Wetten dass ..?” shows the great prominence of the world. Thanks to Gottschalk, national and international actors, politicians and musicians present themselves in a manner that is skilfully funny and disarming in a way that the audience rarely sees. Lagerfeld, Dion, Gates, Beckenbauer and Spielberg are on the extensive guest list. Gottschalk has certainly met some stars while shopping, because he now lives in Malibu, practically in the immediate vicinity of the very big ones in Hollywood.
In 2010 the show came to an abrupt end. The young Samuel Koch applies an acrobatic bet in which he does a somersault over approaching cars. He injured himself so badly that he was left paralyzed in a wheelchair. In the face of this tragedy, Gottschalk no longer feels able to continue the show with the usual cheerful cheerfulness. “Bet that..?” ends – at least until 2012, when the ZDF starts again and Markus Lanz leaves the program. But it shouldn’t be the same as before. Finally the format is set.
But this does not mean that Gottschalk will disappear from the television landscape. From then on he worked for RTL and SAT1, moderated various shows in various subject areas: donation galas, annual reviews, award ceremonies, late night shows, literary programs, quiz shows. And he always meets up with his old friend Günther Jauch. The two visit each other in their programs and finally appear regularly together from 2013, among others in “Die 2 – Gottschalk & Jauch gegen alle”.
Moderating is not Gottschalk’s only source of income. From 1991 to 2015, he also lends his face to the Haribo Goldbär brand, setting an unprecedented record, that of the longest advertising deal. Also in 2015 Gottschalk tried his hand at writing and published his autobiography.
2018 was a fateful year: Gottschalk’s home in Malibu was completely destroyed in the wake of the forest fires. Then in 2019 the unexpected separation from his wife after 42 years. Gottschalk leaves his adopted home Malibu and returns to Germany, where he currently lives in Baden-Baden with his new girlfriend Karina Mross, an employee of the SWR.
Gottschalk’s highlight of his career should be the moderation of the long-running favorite “Wetten dass ..?” have been. He performed 151 times and earned 100,000 euros per show. Numerous special guests are sure to be remembered, for example the then 91-year-old actor Heinz Rühmann, whom Gottschalk 1994 on his “Wetten dass ..?” Couch interviewed. Rühmann’s last appearance before his death.
Gottschalk’s awards include the Golden Camera, the Grimme Prize, the Bavarian TV Prize and some Bambis. He was also awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit. Much of the price was lost in the Malibu fire, but has been partially replaced.
Gottschalk makes no secret of how important success is to him and that the thought frightens him to step onto the stage without anyone applauding. He says: “The word quota whore is mine. I give my customers what they want and go as far as my whore honor allows. There are also happy whores and I am one of them. ” He also explains with the usual mischief: “Before I have to listen to the chatter from others, I prefer to talk myself.”
Anyone who knows Gottschalk only as a presenter and radio announcer has no idea that he can look back on a long film career. He lent his voice several times for dubbing popular films such as “Look who’s talking”. He also often played with Mike Krüger and Helmut Fischer and received guest roles in films with Whoopy Goldberg and Kevin James. Once he even directed and wrote several scripts. Altogether, Gottschalk was directly or indirectly involved in more than 30 films. But his prime role is and remains Thomas Gottschalk, the show master.