Martin Rochus Sebastian von Haselberg is an Argentine-born actor of German descent, best recognized as one half of the British performance art/comedy duo ‘The Kipper Kids.’ He met Brian Routh while studying at the ‘East 15 Acting School’ in 1970. Eventually, the two formed the performance duo ‘The Kipper Kids,’ also known as ‘Harry and Harry Kipper.’ The two then performed the act across the world, gaining attention with their performances. ‘The Kipper Kids’ made two TV projects, namely, ‘Mum's Magic Mulch’ and ‘K.O. Kippers.’ The duo also appeared in ‘The Mondo Beyondo Show,’ produced by von Haselberg. Beyond ‘The Kipper Kids,’ von Haselberg also made several films at the ‘American Film Institute.’ The films featured Routh in the lead. These were ‘Your Turn to Roll It #54,’ ‘People Are No Damn Good,’ and ‘Quiet Lives.’ He also appeared along with Routh in the films ‘Forbidden Zone,’ ‘UHF,’ and ‘The Spirit of '76.’ They also performed the song ‘Playmates’ in the comedy film ‘The Addams Family.’ Of late, von Haselberg has made his mark as a painter. He has created several big photographic images that have been developed into inflatable sculptural shapes known as the “Floatulents.” He is married to American actor Bette Midler, with whom he has a daughter.
Childhood & Early Life
Martin Rochus Sebastian von Haselberg was born on January 20, 1949, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was the youngest of the four sons of his parents. He is of German origin and was raised in Germany and England. He left Germany at age 12.
Not much is known about his parents or his early educational background. He once mentioned that he had attended several boarding schools and that he was a terrible student who was asked to leave two schools.
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Von Haselberg attended the British drama school ‘East 15 Acting School.’ There, he got acquainted with Brian Routh in 1970. The two improvised for months and created the character ‘Harry Kipper.’ They started experimenting with various theatrical formats in using the character of ‘Harry Kipper.’ After they were driven out for being "too experimental," the duo began a touring and performing spree.
The British comedy duo, originally known as the ‘Harry and Alf Kipper,’ featured two distinct characters. However, as von Haselberg and Routh often could not recollect who was “Alf”and who was “Harry,” they decided to drop the name “Alf” and started calling each other “Harry.” They also made their characters identical. Thus, from 1971, ‘The Kipper Kids’ were also known as ‘Harry and Harry Kipper.’
Von Haselberg and Routh, noted for their drastic, harshly loud, and often comic performance act, mostly performed in Europe from 1971 to 1975. In 1975, von Haselberg relocated to Los Angeles with Routh, after David Ross watched their performance at the ‘Gallerie Rudolf Zwirner’ in Cologne in 1974 and invited them to perform in California.
Von Haselberg starred as part of ‘The Kipper Kids,’ along with Routh, in the 1980-released American musical fantasy–comedy film ‘Forbidden Zone.’ ‘The Kipper Kids’ also appeared in the 1989 American comedy film ‘UHF’ (as themselves) that released internationally as ‘The Vidiot from UHF.’ The duo also appeared as a pair of gravediggers in a dream sequence in a 1989 episode of the fifth season of the American comedy–drama TV series ‘Moonlighting,’ titled ‘I See England, I See France, I See Maddie's Netherworld.’
Von Haselberg and his ‘The Kipper Kids’ partner stopped collaborating actively in 1982, and soon, they were just occasionally seen performing as a duo. Their last performance together was held in 2003 at the ‘National Review of Live Art,’ Glasgow.
Meanwhile, von Haselberg appeared in the 1988 comedy TV special ‘The Mondo Beyondo Show,’ along with Routh, in the segment dedicated to ‘The Kipper Kids’. The show, which also featured von Haselberg’s wife, Bette Midler, was produced by him. The same year, ‘The Kipper Kids’ also produced the TV film ‘K.O. Kippers’ for ‘Cinemax.’ The movie featured von Haselberg, Routh, and Joe Spinell.
Another project made by ‘The Kipper Kids,’ the 1990 ‘HBO’ TV movie ‘Mum's Magic Mulch,’ unfortunately remained unaired. Von Haselberg’s endeavors as part of ‘The Kipper Kids’ also included the 1990 American comedy film ‘The Spirit of '76.’ He performed the song ‘Playmates’ in the 1991 blockbuster supernatural black comedy film ‘The Addams Family,’ along with Routh.
Von Haselberg made several movies at the ‘American Film Institute.’ Some of his notable movies are ‘People Are No Damn Good’ (1991), ‘Quiet Lives’ (1991), and ‘Your Turn to Roll It #54’ (1992), all of which featured Routh in lead roles.
He directed an episode of the series ‘Tales from the Crypt’ in 1994.
Von Haselberg later turned into a painter and has recently created several big photographic images. He has developed these into inflatable sculptural shapes that are known as “Floatulents.”
Family & Personal Life
Von Haselberg married noted American singer, songwriter, actor, comedian, and film producer Bette Midler on December 16, 1984, around 6 weeks after he first met the diva. Their daughter, Sophie von Haselberg, was born on November 14, 1986, in Los Angeles, California, US. Sophie later followed in the footsteps of her parents and became an actor.
Von Haselberg stays and works in New York, US.