If you're a Ghostbusters fan, you will remember Vigo the Carpathian from the second movie as an evil medieval tyrant trying to possess a baby in an attempt to be reborn and rule the modern world. Nicknames such as 'Vigo the Cruel' and 'Vigo the Torturer' paint a picture of what Vigo was like. Luckily he was just a fictional character, but apparently the actor who played him was somewhat of a tyrant himself.
Journalist Shaun Raviv recently published an article that tells the sad tale of Norbert Grupe, the man behind Vigo the Carpathian. From his early childhood to his bitter end, Norbert's life is a tragic story that shaped him into a cruel man.
Rejected by his mother
In 1940, at the beginning of World War II, Norbert was born in Berlin, Germany. Norbert's parents soon split up, and his mother moved away from them. He never got the chance to speak to his mother, and sometimes he would go to her house and sit outside for hours, waiting for her to come outside.
She never did.
Norbert's father had another son, Winfried, with a different woman. Unlike Norbert, Winfried's mother lived with them, and Norbert was always jealous of this. The family owned a successful bar, and on the weekends people would come to drink and dance. Norbert was never allowed in, and as revenge he once threw a paper bag with his own feces towards the front of the bar.
Norbert was a giant of a man, and he embarked on a wrestling career. In the '60s he moved to California, and for a while things were looking really good. Norbert eventually switched over to boxing, and he became known for his great boxing skills and charismatic bad-boy attitude. A few years later he moved back to Germany, and the local media loved him. He became somewhat of a celebrity, and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.
In 1966 Norbert was disqualified in the European Light Heavyweight Championship due to an illegal headbutt, something that haunted him for the rest of his life. Three years later he lost a boxing match, and was humiliated on national television the day after. The TV host started asking him about the boxing match, but Norbert refused to answer any of the questions and the interview ended abruptly. You can check out the interview in this clip.
After losing three more fights, he eventually retired from boxing at the age of 30. Following this, he started drinking heavily and taking drugs. He would hang around brothels, and spend time with the Hell's Angels and pimps. He spent all his money and was constantly broke. He started dealing drugs and eventually ended up in prison, where he spent a few years.
Norbert's father found a new wife, who was much younger than him and very beautiful. Norbert was in love with her, and one night when his father was away he broke into their house and raped her. A year later she gave birth to a baby girl named Rona, and Norbert always suspected it was his daughter. Rona loved her father very much, and she was by his side when he was dying. In his final moments, Norbert came to the hospital and asked Rona why she was wasting her time with this asshole, when he was her father. Later blood tests revealed that Norbert was not actually Rona's father, but Rona suspected that he was in denial about this.
Failed acting career
Following his failed boxing career, Norbert tried to make it as an actor. He landed a few roles, and the one he is most known for today is Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2. Unfortunately for Norbert, his speech was so slurred when they filmed it that they ended up having another actor dub his part. Nobody informed Norbert of this, and he only found out during the screening. He stormed out of the theater.
When Norbert's father died, his sister Rona neglected to tell him this because of the way he behaved in the hospital. He eventually found out, and when Norbert himself was dying of cancer, he decided to do the same to her. He spent his final days with a friend, making sure no one would tell Rona about his death until a month later. He wrote a note for her and got his friend to read it to her. The note simply said, "Touché."
If you want to know more about Norbert's tragic life, I recommend reading Shaun Raviv's article, it goes into much more detail and is a very interesting read.
If you want to see Norbert playing Vigo the Carpathian, here's a clip for you.