TV movie director Tom Toelle died March 25 in Munich. He was 74.
Toelle was mainly associated with a TV oddity from German TV of the 1970s, “Das Millionenspiel” (The Million Game).
Pic was an imitation of a live game show in which a volunteer is chased by killers trying to shoot him, all filmed by cameras. The show featured a well-known German entertainment show host, causing irritation among viewers who believed it was a real show.
While the theme appears visionary from today’s perspective, in the days before reality television it ended up by being banned. It wasn’t rerun until the Cologne Conference media confab in 2002, in the meantime gaining a cult following.
Born in Berlin, Tolle started his career in local theaters and in the late 1960s took off as a theater director in Berlin, Hamburg, and Zurich.
Following “Das Millionenspiel,” he remained active in theater as well as TV. His screen successes included movies “Via Mala” in 1985, and “Der Trinker” in 1995. Recently, he also taught classes for directors at film academies.
Toelle is survived by his wife, Ulli Philipp.