Danish Screenwriter Lise Nørgaard Dies at Age 105

January 3, 2023

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Lise Nørgaard, a screenwriter who penned the popular epic television drama “Matador” about the lives of ordinary Danish families in a fictitious provincial town during the recession of the 1930s and the hard times of World War II, has died. She was 105.

Nørgaard died Sunday after a brief illness, her family said Monday. She is also known for having written her 1992 Memoirs “Kun en pige,” recounting her struggle to become a female reporter.

She worked at major Danish newspapers, including Politiken and Berlingske. She started her career at local newspaper Roskilde Dagblad in her hometown of Roskilde, located 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Copenhagen.

“We say goodbye to a national treasure,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Instagram. “A strong and people-loving woman who was never afraid to take the lead. She gave us Matador. A piece of Danish history.”

Danish lawmakers tweeted Monday in honor of Nørgaard, who was little known outside Scandinavia and Germany.

Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt said that “culture has lost a piece of life. And Denmark an important witness and contributor to its contemporaries.”

German Ambassador Pascal Hector tweeted that her television show “Matador,” which he called a “masterpiece” was “my first encounter with the Danish language and the country’s history.”

The setting for 24-episode “Matador,” which was first broadcast in 1978 and shown as repeats over the years, was a fictitious Danish town named Korsbaek. Several Danish actors got their breakthroughs in the four-season show, which ended in 1982, and part of the make-believe town was recreated in a Danish amusement park.

Nørgaard retired as a writer and a lecturer in 2018. Funeral arrangements weren’t immediately announced.


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