Lars Jacob in 2014 (photo: Emil Eikner)
Lars Jacob is a Swedish-American cultural personality born in 1948, the son of folk singer Birgit Ridderstedt and businessman C. Erik Ridderstedt. He grew up in Illinois, learned Swedish when he was 13 and also speaks French, German and Spanish. In adult life, he has lived in Sweden, Florida, California and Spain.
His 1959 TV debut was in Chicago as a solo singer on one of his mother’s programs for WTTW; he started directing plays in grade school at 12, and debuted on stage in a Swedish musical in 1968. In 1969-1971 Lars Jacob appeared as a dance leader, paired up with Doreen Caulker (Eric Burdon’s girl), Efva Attling, Thord Axbom or Annabelle Rice. With his own group he choreographed and led the disco dancing in the 1970 movie More from the Language of Love. Jacob was a disc jockey in Stockholm and Gothenburg in the beginning of the 1970s, and in 1971 he was called "leading man of the capital city’s in crowd" by Swedish press. He was noticed as a DJ during the same period when he was in Florida, where he began to produce his own nightclub shows in 1972 in Miami Beach. Since then, he’s created hundreds of cabaret productions, underground genre. His most well known shows have been Wild Side Story (1973-2013) and AlexCab (1975).
Lars Jacob (in front) with his 1975 "AlexCab" ensemble
Lars Jacob’s own show ensembles, recording projects and cabaret orchestras have included his many debutants and such known names as (given alphabetically) Daniel Abreu (stage debut 2009), Mia Adolphson, Kim Anderzon, Alexandra Charles, Kjerstin Dellert, Tommy Dollar (stage debut 1975), Mr. Egerbladh (above), Anders Eljas (band leader debut 1975), Zoie Finer, Lars Flinckman, Caroline Gentele, Camilla Henmark, Ulla Jones (stage debut 1976), Johanna Lind (TV debut 1993), Christer Lindarw (stage debut 1976), Agneta Lindén, Oksana Maria Lorczak (stage debut 2003), Helena Mattsson, Mohombi Moupondo (stage debut 2002), Christopher O’Regan, Pontus Platin, Gunvor Pontén, Anita Prytz, Christina Schollin, Saga Sjöberg, Graham Tainton, Bibbi Unge, Steve Vigil (stage debut 1975), Max von Sydow, Hans E. Wallman and Yaiya (above).
Lars Jacob as High Priest (photo: Lotta Forsberg)
Over 100 of Lars Jacob’s song lyrics have been well used in his productions, also for some 60 studio recordings and in video clips that are on YouTube. They began to be registered with STIM as early as 1970. A few of the lyrics were in collaboration with Örjan Ramberg, Berndt Egerbladh, Ian Whitcomb and John Groves, and Björn Skifs has recorded two of the songs. Songs such as Steam Heat and Heat Wave with Yaiya are examples of the hundreds of numbers that Lars Jacob has directed.
In 1993 Lars Jacob put a star-studded celebration together in Sweden for the centenary of the birth of Mae West, and 2009-2013 he was contracted as a cabaret director for several different underground stages in Södermalm and the Old Town of Stockholm . One of his Stockholm ensembles did a successful tour in the northeastern USA in 2011 with Cabaret Large A-Cup, directed by Lars Jacob and produced by Emil Eikner, appearing at Madam’s Organ in DC and in Manhattan at Don’t Tell Mama and the Metropolitan Room.
As of 1998, Jacob’s many years of experience were utilized by the non-profit cabaret school F.U.S.I.A. which until 2005 trained young Stockholmers in English for work abroad. The school, with Jacob as Creative Director, was given a stipend in 2001 by Alice Bah Kuhnke (through Skandia’s Ideas for Life Foundation) for a youth project called Läckerhetsvakten (a pun on guarding attractiveness). Many Swedes know Lars Jacob from The Bar (TV series) in the summer of 2000, where he played himself as the director of the establishment’s entertainment. He was already on Swedish television in 1997 with Gert Fylking.
Gert Fylking interviews Jacob on TV about "Wild side story" 1997
Under his more formal name of Jacob Truedson Demitz, Lars Jacob wrote the book Throne of a Thousand Years about Swedish kings and queens, in his first language English. The book is the only one of its kind and is found in national libraries and other libraries all over the world as a reference work. He’s also been a newspaper columnist in his family’s native Dalecarlia, as well as highly acclaimed there for acting, as the Preacher in August Söderman’s Farm Wedding. He’s lectured on inter-cultural communication and reviewed/corrected their most important English texts for many Swedish companies and individuals since the 1960s. On a complaint filed by him with Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsman for Justice (JO) in 1993, one of the country’s top judges was censured for illegally erasing testimony, and in 1996 Jacob started a nationwide ruckus over child labor in the sales of lottery tickets. Since the 1990s, he has written, intervened and campaigned against bullying, racism, discrimination, political and religious hypocrisy, sexual prejudice, defamation and other "housebroken cruelty in our society".
Yaiya & Lars Jacob, New York 2011
As Demitz, from 1976 to 1984, Lars Jacob was employed by The Beverly Hills Hotel in California, where he was Front Desk Manager and Duty Manager and was awarded the hotel’s 5-year pin in gold. Since 2005, he’s Chairman of a cultural umbrella organization, Southerly Clubs, and since 2006 Deputy Chairman of the FamSAC family association with thousands of international members Among active and passive members are CBS reporter Serena Altschul, Bishop Åke Bonnier, Dr. Stanley M. Truhlsen, artists Per Åhlin and Erland Brand, Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt, photographer Mattias Klum, entertainers such as Magnus Uggla and the actor offspring of Baron Povel Ramel, and botanist/author Siri von Reis. Many descend from Stefan Anderson and Jacob Marcus.
Swenglistic Underground has honorary members, inducted thanks to their special benevolence toward Jacob’s projects. Among them are several of the most famous stage artists mentioned above and, on a gracious application of her own, also Princess Marianne Bernadotte. Swenglistic Underground (formerly CabarEng), Lars Jacob Prod, F.U.S.I.A. (above) and the American company Mimical Productions are the organizations for which the greater part of Lars Jacob’s work as a director has been done.