USA Today 18.06.1986


East bloc folk, film star dies

Dean Reed, the Jefferson County born folk singer who achieved fame behind the Iron Curtain, died Tuesday while swimming in a lake near his home in East Berlin.

He was 47.

Details of the accident were sketchy.

His agent, Dixie Schnebley, of Wheat Ridge, said, "It's possible Dean had a heart attack. He was a good swimmer."

His mother, Ruth Anna Brown, said in a telephone interview from her home in Honolulu that an autopsy was to be performed today.

Reed returned to Denver last October for the first time in 25 years. He was in town for the Denver International Film Festival, which included a documentary on Reed's life called American Rebel.

Critics called the movie "a frustrating, sometimes infuriating experience. The movie misses the man's humanity."

While in Denver, Reed and KNUS-AM radio talk show host Peter Boyles became involved in a confrontation.

Reed accused Boyles of talking "just like the neo-Nazis that killed (Alan) Berg." Boyles kicked Reed off the show.

Boyles wasn't available for comment Tuesday on Reed's death.

Reed, born Sept. 22, 1938, on a chicken ranch at 3905 Wadsworth Blvd., which now is in Wheat Ridge, graduated from Wheat Ridge High School in 1958. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for two years, studying meteorolgy.

In 1958 he went to Hollywood, recorded country-western style songs and played bit parts in television and movies, then went to South America, where he sang and became converted to the international peace movement.

Later on, he traveled to Italy, Spain, the Soviet Union and East Berlin.

"In East Berlin, they were doing the first East-West movie - called "Good for Nothing" - and they asked him to play the lead. "That's when he met his second wife, Viveke (Wiebke), who was his interpreter," his mother said.

Although a virtual unknown in America, Reed was mobbed when he appeared in the Soviet Union and other East European countries, where his boyish, blue-eyed good looks and work to promote world peace won him many fans.

Ray Flack, Denver Post Staff Writer

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Letzte Änderung: 2007-12-07