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. He is often associated with the Schlager scene.
Quinn was born in Lower Austria and grew up in Vienna. Quinn's Irish family name comes from his Irish born salesman father, Johann Quinn. His mother, Edith Henriette Nidl, was an Austrian journalist. After his parents' divorce he lived in Morgantown, West Virginia (USA) with his father, but moved back to live with his mother in Vienna who re-married.
At the end of World War II, as part of a refugee group, Freddy encountered American troops in Bohemia. Due to his fluent English, the 14 year old succeeded in pretending that he is of American nationality. He was subsequently sent in May 1945 with a military transport to the US. On Ellis Island, he learned that his father had already died in 1943 in a car accident.
The boy was immediately sent back to Europe and, before returned to his mother in Vienna, stranded for a whole year in Antwerp in a children's home, were he learnt to speak French and Dutch. However, having left the landlocked country of Austria over adventurous journeys through Southern Europe and Northern Africa for Germany, he was "discovered" in St. Pauli, Hamburg, singing in bars and was offered his first recording contract in 1954. 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.
He represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland with the atypical song, "So geht das jede Nacht", and he finished in third place. Freddy’s songs however become instant hits in Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Belgium and several other countries.
“La Paloma”,”Junge, komm bald wieder” and “Die Gitarre und das Meer” bring him fame, golden records and many awards. His 1964 offering "Vergangen, vergessen, vorueber" was another million selling release. He had ten number 1 hits in the German single charts between 1956 and 1966.
Starting in the late 1950s, 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.
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.
His popularity waned in the 1970s, but Quinn continued performing and in 2002 he made his last tour, which ended in the city where he is born : Vienna. He now lives in Hamburg, Germany. (Info edited from Wikipedia & last.fm)
La Paloma - Freddy Quinn from 1961 film Feddy und der Milionär