The Human Centipede Star Dieter Laser Dies At Age 78

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Dieter Laser, the German actor who appeared in The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) has reportedly passed away. According to Dread Central, who picked up the news on social media, Laser died on February 29th aged 78. The actor, who also showed up in Lexx and a number of German productions, was perhaps best-known for his role as Dr. Josef Heiter in Tom Six’s controversial 2009 film, where he attempts to create a ‘human centipede’ out of unwilling victims.

Laser was born in Kiel in 1942, and despite doubts due to his fundamentalist Christian upbringing, broke into acting aged sixteen when he asked the doorman at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus theatre in Hamburg how to become a performer. Beginning work as an extra, he developed a career in the theatre, including as co-founder of the Schaubühne theatre in Berlin. Laser later gained attention for his lead role in the 1975 film John Glückstadt, for which he won the German Film Award in Gold.

During his career, Laser appeared in movies such as the West German omnibus Germany in Autumn, as well as the Oscar-nominated The Glass Cell. In addition, he crossed into English-language cinema with the likes of 1990’s The Man Inside, before a memorable turn as Mantrid in the Canadian and German co-produced sci-fi series Lexx. It was The Human Centipede that brought him to greater notoriety among film fans, though, including for a commitment to the role that saw him swim naked in front of the rest of the cast and remain in character for the shoot.

The success of The Human Centipede led to a Fantastic Fest acting nod for Laser, who then returned for the second sequel in 2015, wherein he plays a sadistic prison warden. We were lucky enough to speak with Laser as part of an interview for The Human Centipede III‘s release in 2015, and are sorry to hear of the actor’s passing. For those who haven’t seen The Human Centipede, now would definitely be a good time to appreciate Laser’s unique performance.

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