|Estimated value:||€90 million|
|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Source of Wealth:||moderator|
He has a distinctive nose, loves unusual clothes and doesn’t just say what he says – Thomas Gottschalk, veteran of television and radio entertainment and in the business for decades.
Familiar with Hollywood and yet still firmly attached to his homeland at heart. Even now, at almost 70 years of age, Gottschalk has not lost his wit and youthful charm.
Thomas Gottschalk was born in Bamberg in 1950, but grew up in the Franconian provinces, in Kulmbach to be precise. During the turmoil of war, his parents Rutila and Hans moved as refugees from Upper Silesia to Upper Franconia. Gottschalk’s mother is a housewife and takes care of him and his two younger siblings Christoph and Raphaela. His father, a respected lawyer, runs his own law firm.
Gottschalk’s childhood was harmonious and carefree. He is passionate about his job as altar boy in the Kulmbach parish church. He was 12 years old when the family had to deal with a severe blow: his father developed pancreatic cancer and finally died in 1964. Gottschalk suddenly found himself in the role of being a support to his siblings and his mother. He tries to cheer up the family, against all odds, despite grief and lack of money. The entertainer in him comes out.
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 would like to become a teacher. But then his path led him to radio.
In 1971 Gottschalk found a job with Bayerischer Rundfunk. At first he worked as a freelancer, but was employed there five years later. He moderates the program “Pop nach Acht” and stands out in the rather conservative station with his cheeky lips.
At the beginning of his radio career, Gottschalk also met his future wife, Thea Hauer from Nuremberg. The two have a son and another child is adopted. During this time, Gottschalk made his first experiences with television, moderated the music program “Scenes” and the interactive game show “Telespiele”.
Frank Elstner became aware of him and, in the early 1980s, let him present various programs for the radio program Radio Luxemburg. But Gottschalk finally returns to Bayern 3, leading through 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 along very well and the daily flippant exchange of blows between Gottschalk and Jauch during the five-minute “shift change” is legendary. In the years to come, the two of them moderated the International Consumer Electronics Fair together several times and overshadowed the actual purpose of the event with their jokes.
In 1982, Gottschalk was hired by ZDF to present the music show “Thommys Popshow”. After that, in 1984, comes “Na sowas!”, a combination of interviews and music. Gottschalk receives many celebrities on the show. Even complicated stars like Klaus Kinski don’t embarrass him.
In 1987, Frank Elstner approached Gottschalk again. By then, Elstner had successfully hosted the game show “Wetten dass..?” moderated, which he brought into being himself. Now Gottschalk should take over the inheritance. In “Wetten, dass..?” shows the great prominence of the world. National and international actors, politicians and musicians present themselves, thanks to Gottschalk’s skilfully funny and disarming conversational style, in a way that viewers rarely see. Lagerfeld, Dion, Gates, Beckenbauer and Spielberg are on the extensive guest list. Gottschalk must have met some stars while shopping because he now lives in Malibu, practically in the immediate vicinity of the big names in Hollywood.
The show came to an abrupt end in 2010. The young Samuel Koch applies with an acrobatic bet in which he somersaults over approaching cars. He was injured so badly that he was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. In view of this tragedy, Gottschalk no longer feels able to continue the show permanently and with the usual cheerfulness. “Bet that..?” will stop – at least until 2012, when ZDF will try again and leave the show to Markus Lanz. 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 now on he works for RTL and SAT1, moderates various shows on different topics: fundraiser galas, annual reviews, award ceremonies, late night shows, literary programs, quiz shows. And he keeps meeting up with his old friend Günther Jauch. The two visit each other on their shows and finally appear regularly together from 2013, including in “Die 2 – Gottschalk & Jauch gegen alle”.
Moderating is not Gottschalk’s only source of income. From 1991 to 2015, he also lent his face to the Haribo Goldbären brand, setting an unprecedented record, namely that of the longest advertising deal. Also in 2015, Gottschalk tried his hand at writing and published his autobiography.
2018 then a fateful year: Gottschalk’s home in Malibu was completely destroyed in the course of the forest fires. Then in 2019 the unexpected separation from his wife after 42 years. Gottschalk leaves his adopted home of Malibu and returns to Germany, where he currently lives in Baden-Baden with his new girlfriend Karina Mroß, a SWR employee.
Gottschalk’s career highlight was the moderation of the long-running hit “Wetten dass..?” have been. He appeared with it 151 times and earned 100,000 euros per show. He certainly remembered numerous special guests, such as the then 91-year-old actor Heinz Rühmann, whom Gottschalk made in 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. A majority of the prizes were lost in the Malibu fire, but were partially replaced.
Gottschalk makes no secret of how important success is to him and that the thought of going on stage without anyone applauding scares him. He says: “The word quota whore is mine. I give the clientele 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 his usual wit: “Before I have to listen to other people’s gossip, I prefer to talk myself.”
Anyone who only knows Gottschalk as a moderator and radio announcer has little idea that he can also look back on a long film career. He has lent his voice several times for dubbings of popular films such as “Look Who’s Talking”. He also frequently acted with Mike Krüger and Helmut Fischer and received guest roles in films with Whoopy Goldberg and Kevin James. At one point he even directed and co-wrote several screenplays. All in all, Gottschalk was directly or indirectly involved in more than 30 films. But his star role is and remains Thomas Gottschalk, the showmaster.
|Estimated value:||€90 million|