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Vigo From Ghostbusters II Died Ten Years Ago! (…and Other Things You Didn’t Know About Him)

By Andrew Blumetti

“Vigy, Vigy, Vigy, you have been a bad monkey!”

Dr. Peter Venkman

Amen brotha Billy… in fact you don’t even know the half of it.

Vigo the Carpathian, main antagonist in 1989’s summer-comedy spooktacular sequel, Ghostbusters II, was a 17th Century Moldavian genocidal tyrant, so horridly sadistic and blood-curdlingly malevolent, he earned a shopping list of not-so jolly nicknames, including but not limited to:  “Vigo the Cruel”, “Vigo the Torturer”, Vigo the Despised” and “Vigo the Butch Unholy”.

That concentrated evil is all just Hollywood magic of course.  When director Ivan Reitman yelled “Cut!”, the loathsome, murderous former-painting Vigo took off his mustard-y armor plated threads and was nothing more than an ordinary 20th Century human– German-born actor, Wilhelm von Homburg.

Wilhelm von Homburg?

True, a name that certainly doesn’t organically ring that familiar bell the way Tom Hanks or Brad Pitt does upon first listen.  While Fabio  Tony Little-lookalike, Vigo, was a celebrated villain to millions of movie fans, poor ‘ol Wilhelm was far from the definition of household of names, especially here in the United States.

Don’t mistake that last statement for a boring life though.  On the contrary in fact.  In spite of his unfamiliar foreign moniker and assumed one claim-to-fame, blondielocks lived quite an enthralling life to say the least.

So, kick back, unplug that dancing toaster, hop in the Statue of Liberty’s crown and let’s take a walk down memory lane.  When all is said and done, you’ll be rather surprised to learn of the roller coaster-ride of the life of the man who played the painting who tried to steal the baby to come back and kill the men who captured ghosts for a high fee.

“Suck in the guts guys, we’re on some dumb blog.”

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CLEAN SWEEP!

“Mop up all that pink slime or we’re calling Immigration on you. NOW.”

Not one to be pushed around in the film, but during the filming of Ghostbusters II, the Vigmeister lost a bet on the Cleveland Browns and had to clean up after those sloppy Scoleri Brothers.  No easy task- those paranormal fatties dropped Devil Dog crumbs EVERYWHERE.  We’d all like to think perhaps the whole cast pitched in to help.  Somewhere there has to be a photo of Rick Moranis accidentally dropping his glasses into the men’s room urinal while changing the cakes.

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“LET’S WRASSLE!”

Bust out them singlets!

In the 1950’s, he wrestled in the United States with his father under his birth name, Norbert Grupe.

Due to people incorrectly pronouncing his last name, “Groupie”, he changed his name to the much more roll-off-the-tongue, “Wilhelm von Homburg”.  A few years later, he’d switch over to a different kind of ring, as boxing came calling his “impossible-to-pronounce-without-sounding-like-you’re-in-the-SS” name.

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PUT UP YOUR DUKES!

“I’ll knock out Annie Potts and steal her French-bread pizza any day of the week.”

From 1962 to 1970, Homburg found a career as a successful boxer, nicknamed “Prinz”, a grand stage-name chosen in order to create a sense of royalty surrounding him.

Unofficial nicknames given to the pugilist were “The Boxing Beatle” thanks to his moppy mane, and the slightly less popular, “The German Answer to Muhammad Ali” thanks to the obvious resemblance.

He ended his career with a record of 29 wins, 11 losses, and 6 draws.  But to be fair, half of those victories came against Slimer.

In 2002, a documentary about Homburg’s life, entitled The Boxing Prince, was released.  This was later renamed to The Artist Formerly Known as the Boxing Prince… then eventually just a symbol.

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JUST YOUR AVERAGE AWKWARD GERMAN TV INTERVIEW

The day after a lost boxing match against rival Oscar Bonavena in 1969, Homburg appeared for a television interview on a German talk show.  He sat silent and smirking for the entire 10 minutes as the interviewer tossed snarky comments about Homburg’s boxing loss and his flashy lifestyle his way.

It still had twice as many viewers as any episode of Joey though.

To be fair, he’s still the second-most popular “Matt” from friends though.

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YEE-HAW!

Vigo’s years in the Bloods were spent constantly throwing the wrong hand symbol.

Despite his most prominent role as the adversary in Ghostbusters II, Homburg also had a minor acting career, appearing in hit movies starring Carl Winslow, such as Die Hard, and non-hit movies without Carl Winslow, such as Diggstown, and John Carpenter’s 1994 horror film, In the Mouth of Madness.

“Go ahead, call me Cee-Lo Green ONE MORE TIME.”

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VIGO’S ACTION FIGURE?  TERRIFYING.

Nice mullet.”- Skeletor

To properly showcase Vigo’s mighty shoulder pads, a Janet Jackson “Rhythm Nation” doll was just painted over to achieve the look.

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VIGO’S “TO CATCH A PREDATOR-ISH” VOICE?  DUBBED.

“Dan Aykroyd said I couldn’t borrow his hair straightener.”

Bill Murray first dipped his gut-busting toe into the world of more dramatic roles in Wes Anderson’s 1998 charming classic, Rushmore.  Just five short years later, his brilliant performance as Bob Harris, an aging actor trying to find himself in Tokyo in 2003’s Lost in Translation made him a frontrunner for the first Academy Award of his career.

One textbook self-righteous Sean Penn acceptance speech later, and Murray’s trophy night never came to be.

Fret not specter-catching fans– While we can’t say Ghostbusters II included an Oscar-winning actor, at least we can say Bill Murray has good company with another Academy Award nominee in the film.

Max von Sydow, a Swedish actor, best known for playing Father Lankester Merrin in the horror landmark, The Exorcist, and appeared in Hannah and Her Sisters, The Diary of Anne Frank, and most recently, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, provided the few voiced lines of Vigo the Carpathian in the film.

“For relaxing times, make it Vigo time.”

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VIGO THE CONVICT

It wasn’t all fun times in the ring and bro-down pow-wows with Dan Aykroyd for Homburg though.

The persistent paparazzi hounded him, following the actor’s descent into the darker corners of his life.  Homburg’s life became filled with drugs, drug dealing, pimping and extortion, even spending a chunk of time 1%’ing it up with a Hell’s Angels chapter.

After many run-ins with Johnny Law, he spent five years in jail for charges on the previously mentioned bevy of charges.  Which was a major pleabargin from his initial sentence of being sprayed endlessly with gooey pink slime.

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ADIOS ‘OL VIGY…

Unfortunately, after a troubled and turbulent life, Homburg passed away almost a decade ago, to the day, on March 10, 2004 from complications from cancer.  And with him, we said raise our proton packs, give an ‘ol 21 “not crossing the streams” salute and say goodbye to the second-greatest Ghostbusters villain to grace the silver screen.

Wait, let’s make sure of this…

1. Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

2. Vigo

3. Walter Peck

4. Zuul

5. the old lady ghost in the library

6. Jack Hardemeyer, the mayor’s assistant

7. Female Gozar (who actually should count as Stay Puft as well…)

Okay, silver medal sounds good enough.

“I’ve worked with better, but not many.”

Dr. Peter Venkman

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The Definitive Interview with Moira Quirk (Mo From GUTS)

By Andrew Blumetti

“Do You Have It?!?”

If you grew up a fan of 90’s golden-era Nickelodeon, that tagline should be no stranger to you.

… but bad news, if it is, man, you’re getting old.

1. Take one part American Gladiators…

2. Eliminate the ‘roids, awkwardly patriotic spandex, and truckloads of greasy body oil…

3. Insert helmet-wearin’, cherub-face kiddies…

Voila!  You now have Nickelodeon GUTS, the action sports competition that ran for four sweaty seasons on the kiddies’ cable network.  Hosted by jolly comedic actor Mike O’ Malley, GUTS pitted three tween contestants against one another in several sporting events to win colored ranking medals.

The grand prize was a “glowing” trophy– a piece of the “Aggro Crag”, the giant fabricated mountain that served as the game’s final obstacle race.  This prize apparently was so mesmerizing, it made the contestants forget Nickelodeon wasn’t giving them any actual money.

The kids were mildly adorable and goofball O’ Malley monopolized a majority of the screen time, but the real hidden GUTS-y gem was officiator/referee Moira “Mo” Quirk, owner of the most fun-to-impersonate accent to ever grace the channel.

For all of us Yanks who grew up only knowing Moira as “Mo the Ref”, you’d best know that black and white-striped ref jersey is just the tip of the iceberg for this talented British comedian/actress.

Moira has kept herself busy since the show’s ending in 1996.  An established stand-up comedian who has also done extensive acting and voice-over work for shows such as Nickelodeon’s animated My Life as a Teenage Robot, the podcast series The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, Johnny Bravo, Happy Feet Two, and several video games.

You can currently catch Mo as the live-action host of the animated series Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and a number of upcoming projects.

I was lucky enough to have Moira as my first-ever interview, and I couldn’t have asked for a better choice.  Friendly, insightful, and always funny, we discussed that catchy-as-a-cold GUTS theme, conquering the rocky Crag, terrible British impressions, and what it’s like to be a Halloween costume.


Please check out Mo’s official site, and follow her on Twitter at @moiraquirkable.  Your funny-bone will send you a Hickory Farms sausage and cheese gift basket as a thank you. 

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BLUMES:  After seeing Nickelodeon revive their classic 90’s programming with their The 90’s Are All That!, do you ever take a moment to sit back and think that you were one of the most memorable faces from an era of television so many hold dear?
MO:  Maybe it’s because I’m English, but no!  I’m completely incapable of thinking that way!  But I do encounter many, many people who watched GUTS and are happy to meet me, and yes, that is nice to feel I was a happy part of their childhood.

I once bumped into Billy Connelly and all I could do was say “Oh!” as I looked up at him, but I felt a rush of remembering my best friend and myself sneaking his albums from her father’s collection and listening to his quite naughty comedy and just laughing and giggling away secretly in her room.  Of course, GUTS was not naughty or blue, but if I can elicit that same kind of “Oh!”, I’d say that’s quite nice.

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Do you ever get the GUTS theme song stuck in your head out of nowhere?  Seriously, sometimes I get that thing in my head and it’s harder to get out than peanut butter from the roof of your mouth.



Like an adventure hero who has inured himself to poison, it has no effect on me.

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Have you kept in touch with Mike ‘O Malley over the years?   Ever caught any of his television shows?



We do keep in touch.  He’s busy with work and family.  I’m busy with work and family, but we keep up with each other and I’m always happy to hear what he’s up to.  I did watch the first season of Glee and thought he was amazing.  A really touching performance- and Emmy nominated, I might add!

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If you Google “Nickelodeon GUTS Halloween costume”, there’s many a photo of a group dressed as contestants, complete with a “Mo” ref.  Now, I don’t know what it’s like to be a Halloween costume, unless “dorky white guy” becomes a popular costume next year.  Is it as cool as I’m thinking it is?



Yes, it is just that cool.  Also, as a practical person, I like how easy it is to assemble: a ref shirt, some ’90s spandex bike shorts and if you have a short, British woman to put in there, all the better.

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In the years since GUTS, you’ve certainly amassed quite the impressive resume, including stand-up comedy, cartoon voice-over work, and acting in film, television and theater amongst other endeavors.  Which has been your favorite to work on?



I did once get to say “if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” as the villain on a Scooby Doo episode, and I walked on air for a week or two after that!

Lately I have been performing in and recording a fair number of plays for radio and that is wonderful.  When I was a teen listening to plays on BBC Radio 4, I thought life would be pretty magnificent if I could do that.  Now, I do.  I get to do all sorts of plays from Restoration to Angry Young Man for LA Theatreworks/NPR and for the BBC.  It’s lovely.  But, whether it’s a game or a cartoon or a sitcom or web series, I really love my job!

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Doing voice-over work for animation seems like a barrel of monkeys… are there any personal favorite cartoons you’d like to work on one day?



I don’t even know if they are still in production, but Phineas and Ferb.  I love that show!  It is built on a foundation of kindness and silliness and it really makes me laugh.  My pal Dee Baker (also a Nickelodeon alum) voices Perry.

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Who were your comedic inspirations growing up?  Do you follow any current comedians?



I have been lucky enough to see Zach Galifianakis when he was doing open mics years and years ago.  I’ve seen Eddie Izzard.  I would have loved to see Mitch Hedberg.  I love Maria Bamford and Jackie Kashian.  I think Catherine Tate is wonderful.

There are all sorts of comedians I love.  Eddie Pepitone and Frank Conniff always make me laugh.  Wow, this is turning into a long- and obviously disjointed- list.  When I was growing up we would always put in a Jasper Carrott tape in if we were going on a drive.  He’s British and did story based comedy.  Or some Monty Python.

Coming to America and going through my husband and uncle’s record collections introduced me to Bob Newhart and Bill Cosby among others.  Currently, I’m watching Louie (Louie C.K.) on Netflix.  I think he’s pretty amazing.

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Funniest movie of all time???  GO!



Nope.  Not fair!  But, off the top of my head, here’s a list of movies I like to see about once a year:

Withnail and I
Some Like it Hot
Hot Fuzz
The In-Laws- the original
Born Yesterday
40 Year-Old Virgin
Funny Bones
Bowfinger
Jeeves and Wooster (The Hugh Laurie/Stephen Fry version)

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On your official site, you have a clip of your stand-up routine about Americans oddly imitating British accents.   I am guilty of a pretty terrible one myself.  Are we all that bad?  Does every fake British accent mention tea? Cause that’s pretty much our go-to move.



For ‘go to’ moves it’s not a bad one.  I believe my husband wins the prize for best worst English accent.  It makes me cry… laughing.

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Now, a couple questions about the “Aggro Crag” on GUTS, did you ever get a chance to climb that thing?  Due to my petrifying fear of heights, I’d make it about 10 feet up and freeze.  I would’ve been shown in GUTS blooper reels.   Did they ever give you one of the glowing green prize trophy pieces to keep?

I did conquer the Crag.  I do own a “piece of it.”  It’s in the garage.

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Since you are a professional comic, I’ll ask your opinion- I love to tell terrible jokes… Please rate this joke on a scale of 1-10 (1 being awful, 10 being a “better” awful):  


Why did Dracula take cough medicine?

To stop his coffin.
Oh, that’s awfully good.

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If we started a campaign to get you on Dancing With the Stars in a future season, how do you think you’d fare?

Um, not well.

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What’s going on in Mo-Land these days?  What are your current projects where we can see/hear/laugh along?

There’s a few actually.  I’m in a new web series called “Dirty Work” .  Check out this LA Times article.

I’m in the third season of the web series “Pretty”.
I recorded “Look Back in Anger” for LA Theatreworks, that has aired on various NPR stations nationwide.
“Dracula” will air on various NPR stations again this Halloween
I’m currently recording an X-Com game playing a cold and clinical scientist.


Star Wars: The Old Republic,  The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – I’ve been getting some nice feedback on those.
I have big intentions with regard to social media! Maybe actually pay attention to Facebook, and updating my woefully outdated website and YouTube channel, and, oh, I don’t know, actually starting tweeting (@moiraquirkable).



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A big thank you to Moira Quirk for her time and for being a fantastic first interview on A Blumes With A View

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