Although Theo Lingen is best remembered as a comic performer, he also won considerable acclaim as a dramatic film actor, director, and screenwriter. Born Franz Theodor Schmitz in Hanover, Prussia, the actor adopted his middle name as his screen moniker along with the name of his father's birthplace, the North German city of Lingen. With his waggishly nasal speech and wiry appearance, Lingen distinguished himself on the German stage as a superb comic performer. When he made the leap to film roles in the late 1920s, he was often paired with muttering straight-man Hans Moser, their contrasting styles a popular facet of the farcical Weiner Film genre. Despite his growing reputation as a comic actor, Lingen appeared in several dramatic roles, including a notable performance as MacHeath in Bertolt Brecht's original 1929 staging of "The Threepenny Opera", as well as small parts in filmmaker Fritz Lang's Expressionist masterworks "M" (1931) and "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse" (1933). During the postwar period, Lingen, now a naturalized Austrian citizen, continued to act while dabbling in directing and screenwriting. He would later return to primarily comic roles on Austrian TV.