Human Centipede star Dieter Laser dies aged 78
Dieter Laser, the actor who played sadistic surgeon Josef Heiter in The Human Centipede, has died aged 78.
Warning: Graphic content
The German actor died nearly two months ago, according to a post on his official Facebook page.
A short message read: “We are very sorry to have to inform you that Dieter Laser passed away on February 29, 2020.”
Laser’s wife, Inge, later confirmed the news to SyFy channel website SyFy Wire.
Reacting to the news, The Human Centipede director Tom Six tweeted: “I’m totally shocked Dieter passed away. He was a force of nature, an unique human being and an iconic actor.
“I’m so damn proud we created pop culture together. Wished we could have made many more movies. RIP my friend, you will live forever on screen!”
A stage and screen actor with numerous credits to his name, Laser will be remembered by most for his role as the sadistic surgeon in 2009 horror The Human Centipede.
The simple yet horrific storyline centres on three kidnapped tourists who are surgically joined mouth to anus to create the titular “human centipede”.
Thanks to its graphic content, the 18-rated Dutch movie gained cult status and is widely recognised in popular culture, even by those without the stomach to watch it.
I’m totally shocked Dieter passed away. He was a force of nature, an unique human being and an iconic actor. I’m so damn proud we created pop culture together. Wished we could have made many more movies. RIP my friend, you will live forever on screen! pic.twitter.com/ERGEsY5aZV
— Tom Six (@tom_six) April 9, 2020
The controversial franchise attracted mixed reviews but Laser’s performance was generally considered a positive note.
While Laser is present in all three Human Centipede films, he only physically appeared in the first and last film.
In the second instalment – 2011’s The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) – Laser appears by way of existing footage from the first movie, after refusing to be part of the production.
He then returned for the third film in 2015 – The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) – playing a different but equally evil character, Texan prison warden Bill Boss.
Away from the horror franchise, Laser won a German film award for his lead role in 1975 black and white film John Glueckstadt.
Other screen credits include Don Quixote’s Children (1981), The Elixirs of the Devil (1976) and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975).
Laser’s final screen performance was in 2017 Estonian horror film November.
His last stage role was bedridden lawyer Huld in Franz Kafka’s The Trial, at Germany’s Bad Hersfeld theatre festival.