When it comes to fame, Germany has its own set of rules. The Germans have shot lots of foreign-born singers and bands into international stardom throughout the decades – the most famous example being The Beatles.

Even today, there are Americans that can’t walk the streets of Germany without being recognized, yet hardly anyone in the U.S. has ever heard of them.

Here are three of such Americans that are more famous, if not only famous, in Germany:

Bruce Darnell

It’s hard to turn on German TV nowadays without seeing this American man’s face. Bruce Darnell is currently famous for serving as a judge on German reality TV competitions, but he actually started out his career as a paratrooper for the U.S. Army. After leaving the army in the 1980s, he came to Germany as a model. Apparently, Bruce rubbed elbows with the right people over the following decades, because he was soon BFF with Heidi Klum and became nationally famous when he served as a judge on Germany’s Next Top Model.

If you live(d) in Germany, you may know him for his grammatically-incorrect catchphrase “Das ist der Wahrheit” (it should be die Wahrheit):

Although I usually hate watching talent competitions, I do really enjoy seeing Bruce and hearing his awesome American accent (which my German fiancé tells me I should practice doing because the Germans seem to love it).

Dana Schweiger

Even if you live in Germany, you may have not heard of Dana Schweiger, but you have definitely heard of her ex-husband, Til Schweiger, and at least one of their children (their daughters Emma, Lilli, and Luna have been in quite a few Til Schweiger films).

If you’re American, then let me explain: Til Schweiger is a famous German actor, director, producer… blahblahblah. Basically, he has his own production company and loves making movies for himself and his daughters to star in. Also, his facial expression never changes from what you see in the above photo.

Dana and Til have been divorced since 2014, but Dana is still semi-famous in Germany and is currently on the TV show 6 Mütter, where she talks about raising her celebrity kids.

Since Dana has lived in Germany for decades, she can speak German pretty well. However, as you can hear in the video, she does still have a strong American accent.

David Hasselhoff

This list wouldn’t be complete without the Hoff! The rest of the world loves to joke about the Germans’ obsession with David Hasselhoff, and I am here to conform that these jokes are based on fact.

David Hasselhoff’s fame in Germany all stems from the 1980’s TV show Knight Rider, which I had actually never heard of until coming to Germany. However, my German fiancé (who was 3 years old when Knight Rider was cancelled), claims that he was obsessed with the show as a kid. So, that should show how popular it is. Also, I regularly see reruns getting aired on TV even today.

It was because of the show’s popularity, and the Germans’ yearning to see Kitt (his talking car from the show), that David Hasselhoff was invited to play at the Berlin Wall on New Year’s Eve in 1989 – a concert that iconified him in German culture for decades to come.
Just look at the reception he got when he appeared on a German late night talk show a couple years ago!

Do you know any other Americans that are only famous outside of the USA?