GERMANY – Dieter Thomas Heck was a German television presenter, singer and actor. He is known as the presenter of the TV program ZDF-Hitparade, featuring German Schlager music, in the 1970s and 1980s. As an actor, he starred in the TV play Das Millionenspiel in 1970.
Heck was born in Flensburg, Germany and grew up in Hamburg. In April 1943, when he was five years old, he developed a stutter after being trapped under a staircase after a nighttime British bombing raid during World War II.
The stutter went away after he received training in classical singing at age 16. After completing “Mittelschule” (middle school) and a technical “Oberschule” (high school) he was trained as a “Technischer Kaufmann” (technical salesman) by Borgward in Hamburg and worked afterwards as a salesman. He left the company before it went bankrupt in 1961.
In 1959, Heck appeared on Peter Frankenfelds talent show Toi – Toi – Toi, singing Hippe-di-hipp, mein Mädchen. In 1961, he participated in the preliminary round of the Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson (now Eurovision Song Contest).