Dirk Bach: Why the entertainer is so missing
Dirk Bach died on October 1, 2012. Even ten years after his death, the entertainer and jungle camp star is missing.
Hella von Sinnen (63) is actually considered a cheerful person. The moderator, comedian, actress and performance artist, who describes herself as an “angular, annoying and dominant personality, with a large portion of heart and courage, argumentative and warm, motherly concern and fatherly resolute”, emphasizes again and again: She just doesn’t come over the death of Dirk Bach (1961-2012).
The entertainer died unexpectedly ten years ago at the age of 51. He was found dead in a Berlin apartment hotel on October 1, 2012. The presumed cause of death: heart failure.
“I can’t tell you how much I miss this man”
Apparently, Hella von Sinnen has not gotten over this loss to this day: “He was my absolute life person and cannot be replaced”, she said to “image”. And in an interview with the magazine “Bunte” she explained: “I am now 63 years old and have spent 30 years of my life with Dirk … We lived together, worked together. The world has become so shitty since he left . I can’t tell you how much I miss this man.”
She met Dirk Bach in the late 1970s on the studio stage at Cologne University – “a moment of happiness,” as she later said. In 1980 they founded the cabaret “Die Stinkmäuse” with the later actress, cabaret artist and director Dada Stievermann (67).
Dirk Bach and Hella von Sinnen moved into a shared flat in Cologne. The two shared a penchant for comics and nonsense. She was on stage with him in countless shows, he was part of her life. And yes: they loved each other, but they never became a couple because he was gay, she is a lesbian. When they flirted with each other, they made fun of the courtship behavior of heterosexual couples.
Star with cult status
His sudden death revealed how popular the short, plump man (1.68 meters, 110 kilos), whom his friends called “Dicki”, was also with his audience. Dirk Bach had accompanied a whole generation as an actor and comedian, from “Sesame Street” (as Pepe) and his appearances as “Urmel” to the “Dirk Bach Show” (RTL and Super RTL) and the leading roles in the ZDF series ” Luke” and “The Little Monk”.
Dirk Bach became a star with cult status as the moderator of the jungle camp “I’m a star – get me out of here!” on the side of Sonja Zietlow (54): Bach in a bush shirt and pith helmet, actually a shooting gallery character – if it weren’t for the mischievous expression in his eyes and his charming, sometimes devilishly malicious smile. Even for critical viewers he was the bright spot of this successful foreign shame show.
“We’re just having a little fun with the eleven little people who are currently spending a few days of vacation here in the Australian rainforest, and we’re showing ourselves to be distanced but well-meaning hosts,” said “the majordomo of the jungle,” according to Der Spiegel. “Whose talent for irony did not fail even at the sight of the nastiest worms. He had things under control as if it were the easiest thing to loosen up when approving – he left the candidates with what can be described as dignity”.
“No laugh can be as thrilling as yours”
Like Hella von Sinnen, co-moderator Sonja Zietlow was heartbroken when she received the news of Dirk Bach’s death. “No laugh can be as thrilling as yours,” she wrote on her website in a letter to the deceased, “no heart as profound and no conclusion as apt as yours.”
When Zietlow was honored a year later with her new partner Daniel Hartwich (44) for moderating the jungle camp with the German Comedy Prize, both rejected the award out of respect for Bach. Zietlow accepted the trophy, spray-painted it pink and placed it next to “Dicki’s” tombstone.
It is a double grave, next to Dirk Bach are the remains of computer specialist Thomas G. He was “Dicki’s” great love. They met in 1995. “Everything happened very quickly with him,” Bach is said to have said. “You meet someone and that’s who you are. Then someone came who loved me with all their might.”
They were together for 17 years. Although they got married in Key West (USA) in 1999, this marriage was not valid in Germany. After Dirk’s death, Thomas G. took care of the burial, he chose the stone and tended the grave ¬ until his own death in spring 2019. Thomas G. was only 51 years old.
Memory in Cologne
The Cologne associations “Aidshilfe Köln” and “Centrum Schwule Geschichte” have suggested naming a square after the artist Bach. The justification: “As an openly living homosexual,” Dirk Bach campaigned “for equal rights for homosexuals early on.” In the summer of 2022, the Cologne city center district council decided to name a small square at the theater, where Bach was a permanent member of the ensemble from 1992, as Dirk-Bach-Platz.
Years ago, Hella von Sinnen placed a pink bench next to his grave in Cologne’s Melaten Cemetery, where famous people from Cologne such as Willy Millowitsch, Alfred Biolek and the painter Sigmar Polke are buried, on which she held conversations with her dead boyfriend. She must have told him about the new project on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his death.
“Because they miss you so badly”
Hella von Sinnen publishes the book “Dear Dicki – memories of Dirk Bach” (Rowohlt, 25 euros) together with her former partner Cornelia Scheel and Pelle Pershing. Numerous friends, companions and colleagues remember the little great comedian in personal contributions, including Hape Kerkeling, Bastian Pastewka, Gerhard Polt, Olli Dittrich, Udo Lindenberg, Anke Engelke, Hugo Egon Balder, Tom Gerhardt and Margie Kinsky.
Hella von Sinnen writes in a touching letter to her “Dicki”: “I think of you every day anyway. But I don’t HAVE to think of you because we have to keep a DEADline for this book… After October 1, 2012 I at least got the shock! The bewilderment! The alcohol! Now, ten years later, my life and love passed me by and I had to stay sober and be creative. Well bravo. Now I couldn’t just wallow in high pathetic self-pity – now I felt sorry for everyone else!!! Because they also miss you so badly.”
As editor, Hella von Sinnen had to read 100 articles and greetings, “these wonderful, tender, clever, funny letters to you. From people who rave about your kindness and generosity. About your collegiality and your century-long talent. Those who remember your smell, of going to musicals and vacations together, of your beautiful eyes and your laughter.”
She no longer wants to mourn “Dicki” because “Helli”, as she is nicknamed, “prefers to repress. Repression is Helli’s core competence.” If she dreams of him, “then he is always alive”. Then she yells at him, “Do you still have them all? Do you think that’s funny? Leaving us here?”