Björn Andrésen

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Björn Andrésen
File:Tadzio audition.jpg
Björn Andrésen at 15 years of age during his audition for the role of Tadzio.
Born Björn Johan Andrésen
(1955-01-26) 26 January 1955 (age 63)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Actor, musician

Björn Johan Andrésen (born 26 January 1955) is a Swedish actor and musician. He is best known for playing the fourteen-year-old Tadzio in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella Death in Venice.

Early life

As a student Andrésen attended the Adolf Fredrik's Music School in Stockholm.[1]


Andrésen had only appeared in one film, En kärlekshistoria (1970) at the time he was cast in Death in Venice, which gained him international recognition. While the film performed relatively poorly at the box office, Andrésen was noted for his performance as Tadzio, the beautiful young Polish boy with whom the film's older protagonist Gustav von Aschenbach (played by Dirk Bogarde) becomes obsessed. Film historian Lawrence J. Quirk commented in his study The Great Romantic Films (1974) that some shots of Andrésen "could be extracted from the frame and hung on the walls of the Louvre or the Vatican."

Rumors circulated in America at the time of the film's release as to whether or not Andrésen was homosexual (as the role demanded that he appear to exchange romantic glances with the protagonist, and on another occasion, be kissed and caressed by another teenage boy). Andrésen emphatically denied these, and later recounted his discomfort at being forced by director Luchino Visconti during filming to visit a gay bar, where he attracted the attention of a number of older men.[2]

Eager to dispel the rumors regarding his sexuality and to shed his "pretty boy" image, Andrésen thereafter avoided homosexual roles and parts which he felt would play off of his good looks, and was angry when feminist writer Germaine Greer used a photograph of him on the cover of her book The Beautiful Boy (2003) without first obtaining his personal permission.[3] Although Greer did consult photographer David Bailey (who owned the copyright for the image) before publishing the book, Andrésen maintained that it is common practice when a party uses an image of a person which has been copyrighted by a different individual to inform the individual and that he would not have given his consent for Greer to use his picture if she had informed him of her plans.

After the release of Death in Venice, Andrésen spent an extended period of time in Japan, where he appeared in a number of television commercials and also recorded two pop songs. It is said that his appearance as Tadzio in the film influenced many Japanese anime artists (known for their depictions of young, effeminate men), especially Keiko Takemiya.

Andrésen has also appeared in several other films.[4] These include Pelikaanimies (2004),[5] Kojan (1992) and Smugglarkungen (1985).

In addition to being an actor, Andrésen is also a professional musician, and until recently performed and toured regularly with the Sven Erics dance band.[6][7]

Personal life

Andrésen resides in Stockholm with his wife, poet Suzanna, and their daughter Robine. The couple had another child, a boy (their first child), who died of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1986, which caused the couple's temporary separation.


  1. Ashley Wyman (7 November 2014). "Björn Andresen". Ashley Wyman Online. Retrieved 2014-12-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "'I'm not Germaine's toy,' says cover boy". Fairfax Digital. 2003-10-18. Retrieved 2008-12-25. Andresen said that when he was 16, Visconti would take him to gay clubs where he was made uncomfortable by grown men staring at him: 'They looked at me uncompromisingly as if I was a nice meaty dish.'<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Seaton, Matt (2003-10-16). "'I feel used'". Retrieved 2008-12-25. Sometimes he still sees his image as Tadzio in a poster or in a cinema flyer; it used to cause him irritation, but not any more. 'My career is one of the few that started at the absolute top and then worked its way down,' he says. 'That was lonely.'<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Filmography
  5. Andrésen may be seen as he is today at the website for Pelikaananimies in which he played a pianist
  6. The Sven Erics, now without Andresen
  7. Andrésen plays keyboard in his days with the Sven Erics

External links