Obituary: Morten Grunwald

Danish actor Morten Grunwald, best known as Benny Frandsen from the Olsen Gang films, passed away from thyroid cancer on Wednesday at the age of 83.

Born in Odense in 1934, Morten Grunwald graduated from the Odense Theatre School in in 1958, then the Royal Danish Theatre School in 1962.

Although he appeared in over 50 films, he will be fondly remembered as getaway driver and keeper of The Thing, Benny Frandsen, from fourteen films made between 1968 and 1998 about hapless criminal outfit The Olsen Gang.

In 1965 he received the Bodil for Best Actor in recognition of his performance as burglar Smukke Arne in the 1964 comedy Five Men And Rosa (Fem mand og Rosa), and repeated the feat in 2008 with a Bodil for Best Supporting Actor in White Night (Hvid Nat).

However, Morten Grunwald was also a successful theatre director, beginning at the Bristol Theatre in 1971, before moving on to the Betty Nansen Theater in 1980, and then the Østre Gasværk through until 1998, where he staged the hit musicals Les Misérables and Miss Saigon.

Morten Grunwald began living with actress Lily Weiding in 1965 and were married in 1980. They had one daughter together, Tanja, and two daughters from Lily’s previous relationship.