Long-time HFPA member Dierk Sindermann passed away on Nov. 3, 2021, after a six-month battle with brain cancer. He was first diagnosed at the end of April and fought valiantly against the disease that doctors had declared inoperable, but to no avail. Chemotherapy and radiation did not improve his condition, and the patient spent the last days of his life at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank.
Dierk was born on March 19, 1945, in Herne, an industrial city in the Rhine-Ruhr area in Western Germany. He grew up comfortably in Herne as the only child of well-to-do parents. It was there, in Herne, that in 1965 I ran into him. I was a young reporter for the local paper, and Dierk was still a student and a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band that was practicing that day. The first time I saw him he was sitting behind a drum kit, pounding away. My assignment was to write a story about this up-and-coming band. One can say music brought us together. It was the time of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones which we both loved, and that was the beginning of a life-long friendship. Over the years we spent many a night listening to our favorite artists on and off the stage.
I don’t know if it was me that inspired him to become a journalist but he did follow me into that line of work quite naturally. He learned his craft at the largest daily in the Ruhr area. In the ‘70s he reported on the automobile industry, which included testing many new cars and motorcycles. But, like myself, Dierk always had a knack for the entertainment industry, and soon he was writing about the stars and celebrities of his home country. The Kölner Express, a flashy daily in Cologne, hired him in that capacity, and Dierk rose up to be deputy chief editor of the paper. Around 1980, he left it all behind and moved his wife and son to Los Angeles to become part of the entertainment capital of the world. I was already here, so once again he followed me.
Dierk was a freelancer now but he brought with him some solid contracts with several high-profile publications: Kölner Express, tz in Munich, Kronenzeitung in Vienna, and Blick in Zürich. Until recently, he supplied all of them with news from Hollywood on a daily basis. After he had joined the HFPA, his activities became even bigger, and his editors loved the star interviews he would deliver. For a while, Dierk also arranged for Hollywood stars to appear on German TV shows, accompanying them on their flights across the Atlantic. One actor he was very fond of was Kirk Douglas, whom he counted among his friends. As an active member of the HFPA, Dierk served on several committees, the last one being the roundtable committee.
I will miss my friend Dierk, and I know I’m not the only one. He was a man who loved life, and he lived it to the fullest. Having survived a heart attack and prostate cancer before he contracted the disease that killed him, he knew how precious life was. My heart goes out to his three sons and his wife Patricia who was with him until the end. I raise my glass to you, my friend. Long live rock and roll!