German-born actor Frederick Jaeger, who fled to Britain with his family to escape the Nazis, established a long career on stage and screen and was an active member of Equity. He played a wide variety of characters but on screen he was often cast in military roles, playing German officers on British television and British officers in German productions.
Known as Freddie to his numerous friends, he was born Manfred Jaeger in Berlin on May 29, 1928, where he lived until he was 11. At this age his family was forced to flee from the Nazi persecution of the Jews, first to France, then to Britain. Freddie assimilated quickly and attended the Lord Weymouth School in Warminster, where he become head boy and taught the sixth formers German.
After taking part in a school play, his future path was clear and he went on to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which he left in December 1948. By January 1949 he was working for Reggie Salberg in Preston, where he was later naturalised in 1950.
From then on he was seldom out of work in various rep companies. His last performance was as Edward, Prince of Wales at Watford in 1996.
1955 saw the beginning of his television career with The Grove Family. He worked for all television companies in a huge variety of parts, ranging from the archetypal English buffoon Arthur Cogg-Willoughby to equally archetypal German officers. This amused Freddie as, on German television, he played English officers. His career was equally prolific in films – The Iron Petticoat (1956), Ice Cold in Alex (1958) and Voyage of the Damned (1976) were but a few in which he featured.
In the West End Jaeger played in Shakespeare, revue and musicals such as Salad Days. The Mermaid Theatre opened in 1959 with Freddie in the lead role of Ramble in Lock Up Your Daughters, with which he toured America. Another international tour in 1954 took him to South America and Europe with Sir Ralph Richardson in The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In 1958 he married the actress Hazel Penwarden but they divorced in 1972. In 1973 he married Elizabeth Griffiths. Freddie served actively on the Equity council for ten years and somehow found time for voiceovers and many radio parts. In 1996 he retired from the profession to live with his wife Elizabeth in their farmhouse in Mallorca, where he enthusiastically entertained his many friends.
Frederick Jaeger died on June 18 in Mallorca after a long illness. He will be missed by all who knew him.
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