Barbara Valentin

MUNICH, GERMANY--Buxom character actress Barbara Valentin, "the German Jayne Mansfield," whose TV and movie career spanned three decades, and who gave European tabloids plenty to write about, died hereFeb. 22. She was 61. She suffered a brain hemorrhage early in 2001, and was in a coma for a quite some time, and was later confined to a wheelchair. According to friends, she had just returned home from a six-week rehabilitation treatment. MSTies will recall her memorable performance in the movie in episode 1011- HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND.

Born Uschi Ledersteger, the daughter of set designer Hans Ledersteger and actress Irmgard Alberti, Valentin, she was a cosmetologist in the late 1950s, when she was discovered. The movie MSTies remember as "Horrors of Spider Island," Fritz Boettger's "Ein Toter Hing im Netz," was one of her first films. More films followed, including 1960's "Das Maedchen mit den Schmalen Hueften" (literally, "The Girl with the Narrow Hips"), and in 1966's "In Frankfurt Sind die Naechte Heiss" ("Hot Nights in Frankfurt").

In the 1970s, she came under the influence of renowned director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and she appeared in several of his films, including 1973's "Martha," 1974's "Effi Briest" and 1981's "Lili Marleen," as well as the award-winning 1974 futuristic tale "Welt am Draht." She appeared in numerous TV productions, including "Bomber und Paganini" (1976) and Fassbinder's acclaimed 15-hour 1980 TV mini-series "Berlin Alexanderplatz."

Her personal life was as hectic as her professional one. The press dubbed her a "scandal magnet" because of her numerous affairs. There were three failed marriages, including one with film director Helmut Dietl. Her struggles with cocaine addiction were also fodder for the tabloids. She was living with Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury when he died in 1991, after which she withdrew from public life.