we have to hand it to our german colleagues for discovering ursula buchfellner, main attraction of a munich pastry shop; she'd whet any man's appetite
Sociologists have been telling us for decades that growing up in the slums breeds malice. This month's Playmate, Ursula Buchfellner, is a living contradiction of that adage. Says photographer Peter Weissbrich, for whom she posed in Chicago and in her native Munich: "Ursula is an angel. A lascivious angel. Her radiation compensates for the fuel shortage in my studio." Third of ten children, Ursula grew up in a dingy, crowded two-bedroom apartment in Munich's Hasenbergl district, the local Hell's Kitchen. Her only toy was a rag doll. Food was scarce and her clothes were third- and fourth-hand. She saw her first film on her 14th birthday. Unable to afford trolley fare, she never left her district. In school, her classmates made fun of her: She was the skinniest and tiniest of them all. And, too shy to open her mouth, she inevitably received the worst grades.
When she graduated at 15, the authorities couldn't provide her with an apprentice job anywhere; employers shunned hiring youngsters from the Hasenbergl. So Ursula took matters into her own hands. In Schwabing -- the farthest district to which she could walk on foot -- she had often pressed her nose against the plate-glass windows of a huge Konditorei, a pastry shop. She opened the door, smiled and applied for a job. The boss took one look and hired her. Ursula behind the counter soon became a neighborhood attraction. "Never had there been so many young men in here to buy sweets," the owner told us. The young man who had the sweetest tooth became her first beau.
Things then began to move faster for Ursula. One balmy evening, sitting appropriately enough, at the Nymphenburg Palace beer garden with her boyfriend, she caught the eye of a German Playboy editor, who approached her. "Was Ist ein Playmate?" Ursula asked. When told, she didn't object to posing; after all, she had often taken the other children swimming in the nude by the meadows along the river. So Weissbrich was called in for the shooting.
By lucky coincidence, German television had just scheduled a documentary on The Making of a Playmate. The telecast, a few weeks after publication of Ursula's gatefold in Playboy's German edition, unreeled before a nationwide audience. Its echo brought on photographers from illustrated periodicals, the fashion magazines, advertising agencies and movie producers.
Her first movie role was a small part in a local trifle called Popcorn and Ice-Cream; that brought her the lead in Cola, Candy, Chocolate, in which she danced and sang. That was followed by a role -- cut, unhappily, from the film's final version -- in Sidney Sheldon's Bloodline and one in a French movie by director Max Pecas. Next she'll be working on a German TV serial opposite veteran actor Walter Giller, in a Marcello Mastroianni-Nastassja Kinski type of older man-younger woman situation (à la Stay as You Are, featured in the August Playboy).
To date, modeling and film assignments have taken the girl who three years ago couldn't afford trolley fare to such places as Paris, Rome, Chicago, Kenya, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Mauritius. "By next year, I shall probably have run out of continents," she says with a mischievous smile.
Will she become another Nastassja Kinski? Ursula smiles enigmatically. "Success seems to come so easy, but there is no guarantee that it might last." Not that she much cares. "What I really want is to give and to receive affection. That is a ticket even better than the trolley fare I now can easily afford. And the end is out of sight . . ."
Photography by Peter Weissbrich