The Austrian actor turned humanitarian died yesterday at the age of 86 in his home in Grödig, near Salzburg late Thursday according to a spokesperson of his aid organisation. Bohn was known particularly known for his role as Emperor Franz Joseph in the much loved “Sissi” films. Böhm was born on March 16, 1928 in Darmstadt, Germany and grew up in Hamburg and Dresden. He originally wanted to be a pianist, but later decided to take acting lessons in Vienna.
Bohn founded an aid organisation Menschen für Menschen (“Humans for Humans”) in 1981 and started an active engagement in helping the less fortunate through out Ethiopia. Karlheinz appeared on a TV show and had a bet that 1 in 3 viewers will contribute 1 German mark, 1 Austrian schilling or 1 Swiss franc for starving people in the African Sahel. He won the bet and was able to collect enough amount of money to make his maiden trip to Ethiopia the same year to start his charitable work. Ever since then his organisation has tremendously grown to devise project that help millions in the areas of technical education, woman empowerment, health, infrastructure, and agriculture. In 1991 he married Ethiopian Almaz Böhm who took over the management of the charity for the past few years before quitting the position to take care of him after he fell ill. In the spring of 2013 it was announced that Böhm was suffering from Alzheimer’s. He has two kids aged 24 and 21 from his marriage with Almaz and five kids from an earlier marriage.
Karlheinz is well admired in Ethiopia for his charity work and has a square named after him in the capital city Addis Ababa in addition to the honorary citizenship he received in 2003. [DW]