We know Hitler loved to get his toes tapping to a happy tune, but did you know that this show queen batted his eyelashes at a favorite matinee idol? According to a recent story in the Forward, Dutch-born singer Johannes Heesters, who recently died at age 108, made his Munich debut as Danilo in the Austrian operetta The Merry Widow, to which Hitler had box seats night after night. Hitler the groupie was over the moon for Heesters’ performance.
In a 1998 interview, Heersters remembers a star-struck Hitler kissing his hands. “I was flabbergasted…and walked away proud as a peacock.” The Führer’s housekeeper remembers Hitler strutting around in a top hat and tails, asking, “What do you say? Am I no Danilo?”
Heersters stopped short of giving his Führer-fan the sieg heil salute, finding it “so unbecoming” (underarm flab?). Heersters looked back on his sugar daddy fondly throughout his life, calling him “a great guy.” When his wife delicately pointed out that Hitler was actually “the worst person in the world,” Heersters explained, “I know, Doll, but he was good to me!”
Hopefully that great catchphrase came with a happy-go-lucky shrug and a wink.