Dean Reed, born on 22nd September 1938 in Denver Colorado was a singer, songwriter, actor, director and social activist. Dean Reed, who had such songs as “Our Summer Romance” was mostly popular in South America where he went to tour. Often referred to during his music career as Mr Simpatia, as he often worked for free in barrio’s and prisons and also protested against many US policy’s such as nuclear bomb testing. Reed was living his life in Argentina until he was deported in 1966 and ended up in Rome where he began to shoot “spaghetti westerns” for several years, before becoming a major star in Eastern Europe which inevitably lead to his move to Berlin during the cold war, where he fell in love with what East Berlin had to offer.
Although Reed’s political views previously had moved to the left slightly, he never previously declared himself as a communist, but whilst living in the GDR he had an opportunity to embrace it. After moving to East Berlin in 1973 he began to write, direct and perform in his own films, which accounted for over his life as over 20 film roles. Although Reed was highly committed to his adopted socialist home, he did not join the Socialist Unity Party. Many argue that this was because of his love for America, just his opposition to the US government and economic policies; he never actually renounced his US citizen ship, as a proud American Reed clearly preferred the political values of East Berlin and what the city did for his career. In his 1986 interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Reed happily defended the Soviet decision to build the Berlin Wall and the invasion of Afghanistan, whilst also comparing President Ronald Reagan to Joseph Stalin; inevitably angering many US citizens including his own family and friends. Just six weeks later Dean Reed’s body was found dead in his home in East Berlin, many close to him from the GDR suspected it was suicide, but his friends and family in American claimed it was a murder.
Like many, Reed was drawn to Berlin and the impact that it had on its creativity; although during an era when freedom and creativity in East Berlin was not at it’s peak. This could represent the divide in the people of East Berlin, who like Reed want to embrace their political beliefs whilst also their creative nature.