Loriot, German Comedy Legend, Dead at 87

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The comic's (real name: Vicco von Bulow) films "Odipussi" and "Papa ana portas" are among the most successful German comedies.

COLOGNE, Germany - The German comedy legend Vicco von Bulow, better known as Loriot, is dead. The 87-year-old veteran of TV sketch comedy and film died on Monday at his home in Bavaria. Though not well known outside the country, Loriot was one of Germany's best-loved funny men and an inspiration for a generation of comedians.

First as a cartoonist, later on his Loriot TV show, von Bulow used the stuff of ordinary life - eating spaghetti at a restaurant, buying Christmas presents, having breakfast - as raw material for his work. He only made two films: Odipussi (1988) and Papa ana portas (1991), but both were box office hits, together selling more than 8 million tickets in Germany alone. In 2009 he received a lifetime achievement honor from the German Film Academy.

"Our country has lost one of its most important humorists and wisest observers of human weakness," said German President Christian Wulff. "By laughing at Loriot we learned about the complicated and simplest problems of life. With his sketches he made television history."

Von Bulow may have inspired a younger Generation of German comedians Butt he wasn't happy with the Ganges to German TV, especially After the advent of commercial television in the 1980s. In an interview in 2007, von Bulow compared the demands of making shows for public television in the 1970, when he had a year to deliver four episodes, to today's commercial demands. "Today the poor saps have to do 25 episodes (a year)," he said. For von Bulow, quantity didn't equal quality and he left the business.

After the news of his death broke, Twitter lit up with tributes to von Bulow and his work. Several German channels are planning on-air homages this week.