Reinhold Batberger

Francis Brunn - Juggler of the Century

Reinhold Batberger
Foto: Reinhold Batberger
© Jürgen Bauer

Reinhold Batberger, born 1946 in Würzburg, lives and works as a writer in Frankfurt am Main.

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He tossed a ball into the air, and earned millions. For more than fifty years, millions watched him do his turn, which lasted seven minutes. That was the life of Francis Brunn, juggler (1922–2004).

Franzl and Lotte Brunn, a brother-and-sister act from Aschaffenburg, gave their first public performance on the stage of a sports hall. Two years later they were the toast of Berlin. In the post-war years, Francis Brunn, the successor to the great Rastelli, displayed his craft in the major venues of Las Vegas, Paris and London, where together with the Beatles he performed for the Queen. He joined Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis jun. on the stage, toured with Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich. Elvis Presley saw him juggling, and offered to hire him for his show. Much later, in the 1980s, the founders of the »Varieté Theater Tigerpalast« in Frankfurt engineered the stage comeback of the legendary juggler whom the world had forgotten. Even at the age of eighty, Brunn was continuing to thrill the public with his show INCOGNITO.

In the last years of his life, Francis Brunn met up with Reinhold Batberger to talk about juggling. Juggler of the Century is the chronicle of a family, the history of a global career, the model biography of a twentieth-century artist.


»Batberger’s portrait is far more than the customary celebrity biography. […] His book delivers the psychogram of an extraordinary man but also of the era in which his feats were accomplished. Juggler of the Century is a factual book and simultaneously a literary work of intellectual depth and philosophical reflection.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung