Freddy Quinn (born Franz Eugen Helmut Manfred Nidl, 27 September 1931, Niederfladnitz, Austria) is an Austrian singer and actor whose popularity within the German-speaking world soared in the late 1950s and 1960s. Similar to Hans Albers two generations before him, Quinn adopted the persona of the rootless wanderer who goes to sea but longs for a home, family and friends. Quinn’s Irish-sounding name comes from his Irish born salesman father, Johann Quinn. His mother, Edith Henriette Nidl, was an Austrian journalist. He is often associated with the Schlager scene.
Freddy Quinn was born in Lower Austria and grew up in Vienna. As a child he lived in Morgantown, West Virginia (USA) with his father but moved back to live with his mother in Europe. Through his mother’s second marriage to Rudolf Anatol Freiherr von Petz, Quinn adopted the name Nidl-Petz. However, having left the landlocked country of Austria for Germany, he was “discovered” in St. Pauli, Hamburg, and was offered his first recording contract in 1954.
He represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland with the atypical song, “So geht das jede Nacht”, about an unfaithful girlfriend who dates lots of men and he finished 3rd . His other songs are mostly about the endless sea and the solitary life in faraway lands. His first hit record was “Heimweh” (“Homesickness”, aka “Brennend heißer Wüstensand”, “Dort wo die Blumen blüh’n” and “Schön war die Zeit”, (1956), a German version of Dean Martin’s “Memories Are Made of This”. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.
Other hits, often with him simply billed as Freddy, followed: “Die Gitarre und das Meer” (1959), “Unter fremden Sternen” (1959), “Irgendwann gibt’s ein Wiedersehn” (1960), “La Paloma” (1961), “Junge, komm bald wieder” (1963). His 1964 offering “Vergangen, vergessen, vorueber” was another million selling release.
His popularity petered out in the 1970s, but Freddy Quinn continued performing. “Junge, komm bald wieder” was sung by Alpay on 7 Dilde Alpay (“In Seven Languages Alpay” in Turkish) album, which was released in 1973.
Starting in the late 1950s, Freddy Quinn also acted in several movies, again frequently cast as the seafaring loner. Titles include Freddy, die Gitarre und das Meer (1959), Freddy unter fremden Sternen (1959), Freddy und das Lied der Südsee (1962), and Heimweh nach St. Pauli (1963). Subsequently, Quinn also performed on the stage in such diverse roles as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, the king in The King and I, and Lord Fancourt Babberly in Charley’s Aunt.
Freddy Quinn was also an accomplished circus performer who stunned television audiences as a tightrope walker performing live and without a safety net. On another occasion, which was also televised, he rode a lion inside a circus cage while the lion was balancing atop a moving surface.
Quinn still lives in Hamburg.