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Theo Van Gogh
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Theo Van Gogh

Theo Van Gogh (July 23, 1957–November 2, 2004) was a controversial Dutch film director, television producer, publicist and actor. A self-proclaimed descendant of the brother of the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, he was apparently murdered by a Dutch-Moroccan assassin angered by van Gogh's work and criticism of Islam.


Van Gogh was born in The Hague. His great-grandfather was art dealer Theo van Gogh, brother of Vincent van Gogh. After dropping out of law school he became a stage manager. He debuted as a director with the movie Luger (1981). He received a Gouden Kalf (Golden Calf, the Dutch equivalent of the Oscar) for Blind Date (1996) and In het belang van de staat (In the Interest of the State, 1997). As an actor he appeared in the production De noorderlingen (The Northerners, 1992). After that, he worked for television and wrote provocative columns for Metro and other newspapers.

His last book (2003) was Allah weet het beter (Allah Knows Best) in which he - in his typical cynical, mocking tone - presented his views on Islam. He was a well-known critic of Islam, especially after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He supported the nomination of liberal (former PvdA [labour] party), Somalian-born female politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali for Dutch parliament. As of 2004, she is a Member of Parliament for the (right-wing) VVD party, which advocates limits to the admission of especially Muslim immigrants into the country.

Together with Hirsi Ali, van Gogh created the 10-minute movie Submission. The film is about violence against women in Islamic societies. It shows four abused women, naked under see-through dresses with Qur'anic verses in Arabic unfavourable to women, painted on their bodies. After the movie was released, both van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. Van Gogh did not take these very seriously and refused any protection.

As a newspaper columnist, he was known for being provocative and politically incorrect. He caused resentment in the Moroccan community by consistently referring to them as geitenneukers (goatfuckers), and incurred the wrath of leading members of the Jewish community by making comments about, as he saw it, the Jewish preoccupation with Auschwitz. He was also a staunch supporter of President Bush, and the American-led invasion of Iraq.

Van Gogh was a member of the Dutch republican society Republikeins Genootschap which advocates the abolition of the Dutch monarchy, and a friend and supporter of the controversial Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn who was assasinated in 2002.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Theo Van Gogh Facts

OccupationDirector, Talkshow Host
BirthdayJuly 23, 1957
BirthplaceWassenaar, Netherlands
Date of deathNovember 2, 2004 (age 47)

Selected Filmography

Not available.