Anne as she lives and breathes

Linda Geiser by the fountain in the garden of the Kunsthausrot gallery in Koniz, where she occasionally presents her paintings and sculptures. The actress is also a well-known visual artist

"I will live at least 110 years!" Linda Geiser is convinced. The vitality and passion that she puts into this statement is enough to make anyone and everyone feel it: "Yes, I hope, dear Linda, that you will remain with us for a long time to come with your pleasant joie de vivre! Linda forever!"

And it is quite possible that Linda Geiser will meet the same fate of immortality as Queen Elizabeth II.

But why does Linda Geiser want to become so old?? "I then have a date, with whom remains my secret," she says both succinctly and very firmly.

Linda Geiser has not yet read the biography about herself

Secrets are not Linda Geiser”s style, on the contrary: Her life is an open book. And shortly before Corona, her exciting life story was also written down and published in a book (see box).

Did Linda Geiser recognize herself in this book?? "I don’t know, I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet."Boom boom" – to every question an unvarnished answer without "ifs and buts", sometimes concise and short, more often detailed and sprawling, but always with the greatest entertainment value – that is the Geiser, as she lives and breathes. "Moreover, the book does not describe my complete life, it is a preliminary interim balance sheet," emphasizes the now 86-year-old oldest still active Swiss actress, who is currently staying in Switzerland. For the first time in almost two years. "I usually visit my old home at least two or three times a year, but I couldn’t come because of this epidemic," Linda Geiser frets. By the epidemic she means Corona, for months she was stuck in New York because of it.

An impressive acting career spanning over 70 years

Linda Geiser’s career as an actress began during her time at high school. The continuation of her career is now part of Swiss theater and film history: she starred in several films directed by the legendary Franz Schnyder. She slipped into the roles of a dissolute maid (in "Uli der Knecht"), a "village hussy" (in "Anne Babi Jowager") and the mother of the nation (in "Die 6 Kummerbuben"). Internationally, she embodied Princess Elisabeth alias "Sisi" (in "Konigswalzer") even before Romy Schneider made her breakthrough in the same role, and in the Hollywood production "The Pawnbroker" she caused a scandal with the first "bosom flash" in U.S. film history. And between 1999 and 2007 she became a TV series star as the factory owner’s wife Johanna Blanc. But Linda Geiser is not thinking of giving up acting: "I am currently filming the role of the mother of a gender child, a highly topical subject," reveals Linda Geiser.

With the feature film and the series of the same name 'Die 6 Kummerbuben' Linda Geiser became the mother of the nation as Sophie Kummer

In Franz Schnyder's film version of the Jeremias Gotthelf novel 'Anne Babi Jowager', Linda Geiser (third from left) played alongside the Swiss acting legends of the time Ellen Widmann, Pierre Tagmann alias Peter Markus, Margrit Winter, Heinrich Gretler and Willy Fueter (from left)

The legendary director Franz Schnyder engaged Linda Geiser again and again for his Gotthelf film classics. But he also had a suitable role ready for her in the refugee drama 'Der 10. Mai' (May 10, 1957). It was the first film to deal critically with Swiss history during the Second World War. The refugee drama failed with Swiss audiences, but caused a big sensation at the Berlin Film Festival

Already one year before Romy Schneider, the then only 18-year-old Linda Geiser slipped into the role of Princess 'Sisi', later Empress of Austria, in the German cinema film 'Konigswalzer' (1955)

With the cult series 'Luthi and Blanc' (288 episodes between 1999 and 2007), Linda Geiser celebrated a brilliant television comeback as the chocolate manufacturer's wife Johanna Blanc. The picture shows her with her film partners Tonia Maria Zindel, Isabelle von Siebenthal, Hans Heinz Moser and Martin Schenkel (from left)

In high school with Elisabeth Kopp and Mani Matter

For the early start to her acting career, Linda Geiser had to reconcile high school and acting, which was not an easy thing to do, but the teenage Linda knew how to help herself: "I let myself fall behind and repeated a class so that I could take on the engagements in a more relaxed way."The result was that Linda Geiser found herself in the "Gymer" on the same year level as Elisabeth Kopp-Ikle and Mani Matter, who were one year younger. "I am still friends with Mani’s wife Joy Matter to this day, and I am also always very happy when I meet Elisabeth Kopp," says Linda Geiser, "but unfortunately Elisabeth’s sister Marianne, also a dear friend of mine, died two years ago."

The death of a loved one is part of everyday life as we age, and yet it doesn’t get any easier. "In the past decade I had to say goodbye to countless friends and relatives forever, that always hurts me a lot, and of my former actor colleagues from the 50s and 60s, only Lilo Pulver and Anneliese Egger are still alive," says Linda Geiser, and in her voice the melancholy is mixed with resignation to fate à la "So isches haut".

About the person

Linda Geiser was born on 13. Born in May 1935 as the second of three children into a teacher’s family in Koniz near Bern. She graduated from high school among a crowd of young people who later also became famous: Elisabeth Ikle, the first female Federal Councillor (Elisabeth Kopp) and Mani Matter, the singer-songwriter. Her acting talent was already discovered at the age of 15. She trained at the acting school of the Conservatory of Music in Bern under Margaretha Schell von Noe, the mother of the two acting stars Maria and Maximillian Schell. Linda Geiser came to the stage at an early age, helped to build up the Atelier Theater in Bern and set off from there into the wide world. She played in Hamburg and Berlin, and finally in New York on Broadway. Linda Geiser became known to a wide audience through her roles in the Gotthelf adaptations "Uli der Knecht" and "Anne Babi Jowager" as well as the TV series "Die 6 Kummerbuben" and "Luthi und Blanc". But she also caused a sensation internationally: in "Konigswalzer" she played the legendary princess and later empress "Sisi," and in the Hollywood production "The Pawnbroker" she caused the first "nude scene" scandal in the U.S. with her bared bosom. Linda Geiser settled in New York as early as 1961 and bought an older house on the Lower East Side, which became the center of her life. Here, in her so-called "Red House", she began to paint, write and design art objects. Above all, however, she welcomed young Swiss artists who came here on a scholarship for half a year, lived and worked with her. Three years ago, Linda Geiser sold the house and moved into an apartment nearby. Linda Geiser is currently in Switzerland, where she is attending a memorial service in Steffisburg for her famous cousin, the painter and singer Arthur Loosli, who passed away earlier this year.

The book: Gabriela Kaegi and Heinz Stalder have written a book about the life of the New Yorker from Bern: "Appearance Linda Geiser. Published by Zytglogge, on 396 pages, with many photos.

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