When the celebrities move to this year's jungle camp (from January 19th on RTL or any time on RTL), actor Heinz Hoenig (72) will also be there. At over 70 years old, the RTL show in the open air, with tough tests and a lack of food, can definitely be a challenge. In an interview with "RTL", the "Das Boot" mime revealed why he wanted "I'm a star - get me out of here!" does at all. "I was up for it this year. I just want to experience it. I'm free to do it now." But Hoenig is by no means the only celebrity who ventures into the jungle at an advanced age. Other candidates were also over 70 years old when they took part.
When actress Ingrid van Bergen took part in the jungle camp in 2009, she was already 77, making her one of the oldest candidates in the history of the German edition. Back then, before she moved in, she said: "I'm the oldest taking part - by far, in all relays. I'm in the jungle camp for a generation that I stand for. I want to show that older women can do the same as older men. If you keep fit at my age, then you can take part here without any problems."
And she proved to everyone that she was right: She was even able to secure the jungle crown, making her the oldest winner of the RTL show to date.
“Alf” spokesman Tommi Pieper also dared to go to the campfire at the age of 77. However, he didn't make it to the final in 2019 like Ingrid van Bergen once did. He had to leave the show as the third candidate.
He had an interesting explanation for this: it was because of the viewers: "I'm at a more mature age now and they just go to bed early," said Piper. He seemed to be firmly convinced that his expulsion was due to the fact that the older viewers didn't sit in front of the TV until after 11 p.m. and therefore didn't call for him.
At 74 years old, Rolf Zacher was the oldest participant in the 2016 relay. However, he had to leave the Australian jungle after just eight days - for health reasons. The actor was taken from the camp to a hospital for a medical check-up due to heart problems. The heat and little food weakened the actor, RTL said. However, he quickly recovered afterwards.
Just two years after appearing on the show, Zacher died in early 2018 at the age of 76.
The musician Gunter Gabriel was also there, like Rolf Zacher, in 2016. He was a year younger than the actor at the time - 73. He also had to break off the camp because of the strain and left on the fifth day. After all, he said, he wasn't that young anymore. After moving out, he suffered a seizure and had to recover in the hospital.
The circumstances in the jungle had taken a toll on him. For example, he would have had to go out ten times a night to go to the toilet. However, it was 300 meters away and led along an uneven path. “That’s a total of six kilometers per night,” he calculated on a talk show. His conclusion: "It's extremely dangerous in the jungle and it's not fake."
Around a year and a half later, Gunter Gabriel fell in June 2017, one day before his 75th birthday. He suffered a triple fracture of the first cervical vertebra and died a few days later in a clinic in Hanover.
"I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" is celebrating its anniversary this year: the show ran in Germany for the first time 20 years ago. In 2024, the 17th season starts on Friday, January 19, 2024. It starts straight away with a three-hour live show for the first time in prime time from 8:15 p.m. The station will show the grand finale on Sunday, February 4th, from 10:15 p.m.