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Despite success and money – Erdogan Atalay, the action hero from the cult series “Cobra 11” remains down to earth. For 23 years, the actor has been the epitome of the Autobahn Police. The series is broadcast in 140 countries around the world. Erdogan Atalay alias Semir Gerkhan also races in the 34th season of the RTL series as the chief inspector on the film highway. Erdogan Atalay has shot almost 400 episodes so far. With the consistent success of the RTL series, the actor was able to accumulate his net worth. Privately, the hero of the series has been driving an Italian luxury sports car, a Maserati, since 1999. But the family man actually loves horses.
The series star Erdogan Atalay can rank among the top earners among German actors. The commissioner from the Cologne Autobahn, Erdogan Atalay, has meanwhile earned a small net worth. Streaming services are driving up the income of series actors. However, according to media reports, only two percent of the approximately 5,000 actors who work for television or film in Germany can live on their earnings.
The actor has a father of Turkish origin. His mother is German. Erdogan Atalay was born on September 22, 1966 in Hanover. He grew up in Garbsen-Berenbostel and attended the integrated comprehensive school there. Hanover is horse country. Horses were also part of everyday life for the Atalays. “I was a show jumper and dressage rider until I was of legal age,” said Erdogan Atalay in an interview.
At the age of 18 he appeared in a supporting role in “Aladin and the Magic Lamp” at a theater in Hanover. Then, in 1987, he began studying acting at the University of Music and Theater in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. But the then mid-twenties only got guest roles, never a leading role, let alone a permanent place in the ensemble. He played at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, also occasionally in Berlin. Atalay tried to appear as a Turkish greengrocer in the early evening program in the Marienhof series. He was not accepted.
Suddenly a former stuntman had him on the list. The young, aspiring actor, Erdogan Atalay, has been enthusiastic about acrobatic movements, the art of body control and jumping since his youth. For the 1.60 meter tall German-Turk, the moment of truth came in the early 1990s. RTL breathed life into the start-up “Alarm for Cobra 11”. Since then, the series has been a ratings hit and Erdogan Atalay has been at the forefront.
The actor has realized his life’s purpose. In the cult series “Alarm for Cobra 11” he is Semir Gerkhan, the tough chief inspector from the Autobahn – and has been since the very beginning. One spectacular stunt follows the next. But the German series star also has another side. In his private life, the Cologne-based action star is anything but a daredevil.
Erdogan Atalay is the father of three children. Just as a man changes in his role as a family man, his parade role as Semir Gerkhan has also changed. As the chief inspector, the hero of the series has to deal with the fact that his film wife is separating from him. Privately, Erdogan Atalay has been happy in his second marriage to Katja Ohneck, his manager, since 2017. From this marriage also arises his son Maris Atalay and the youngest baby. From 2004 to 2009 Erdogan Atalay was married to Astrid Ann-Marie Pollmann. His daughter Amira Pauletta Melisande Pollmann, called Pauletta for short, occupies the role of his film daughter Ayda Gerkhan in “Cobra 11”.
The actor is quite interested in other roles. But Erdogan Atalay appreciates the stability of his job and that of his employer. It brings him secure income. According to the contract, actors are not allowed to talk about their fees. Series stars earn around 300,000 euros per season. Some earn 10,000 to 15,000 euros per day of shooting. In a successful series like “Soko 5113”, actors earned an average of 1500 to 2500 euros per day of shooting. In 2012, Erdogan Atalay starred in Soko 5113. But the fees vary. In addition to “Cobra 11”, Atalay appeared in various guest roles, such as “Die Wache” (1994), “Der Clown” (1998), “Hintergittern” (1999) or “Soko Stuttgart” (2016).
After twenty years on “Cobra 11,” the lead actor says, “I don’t stop until ‘Cobra 11’ when I need a double to climb out of the car!”
Great deeds sometimes seem quiet. Erdogan Atalay has been supporting the children and youth institution “Die Arche” for two decades. Child poverty is an issue the actor fights against.