Carin Mannheimer was a popular author and a director who had a strong sense of the pressing issues of her day.
Carin Mannheimer was born in Osby. She was the daughter of Robert Jacobson, a purchasing manager, and his wife Ruth (née Forsberg). Carin Mannheimer was married to Sören Mannheimer, a politician, from 1957–1977. They had two children together, a son named Joakim Mannheimer and a daughter called Anna Mannheimer. Subsequently, from 1980 until 1990, Carin Mannheimer was married to Gunnar Hanson, a professionally qualified economist.
After completing her studies in Lund Carin Mannheimer worked as a literary- and theatre-reviewer for the Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfarts-Tidning and Arbetet newspapers. From 1967 onwards she was a producer and director at Sveriges Television whilst also writing her own plays and working as a director. Carin Mannheimer went on to become head of the drama department at Sveriges Television for the period 1979–1982.
Carin Mannheimer was one of the public figures who, towards the end of the 1960s, invigorated the public debate on women’s place in society. Her 1969 book entitled Rapport om kvinnor generated a lot of attention as did her first play, called Man råkar vara kvinna, which was produced by Lennart Hjulström at Göteborgs stadsteater (the Gothenburg city theatre) in 1970. Later on in life Carin Mannheimer tended to direct her own plays, such as the two plays on aging in Sweden called Sista dansen and I sista minuten, which she produced at Göteborgs stadsteater in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Although Carin Mannheimer’s later plays were great hits with the public, it was nevertheless primarily through her socio-critical TV-series that she became famous and was able to play an important role within the cultural and social polemics in Sweden from the 1970s right up until her death. Her Lära för livet from the 1970s set off an intense debate about the Swedish school system which was just undergoing a transformation from an authoritarian style of teaching towards a methodology involving dialogue and investigative approaches. One of Carin Mannheimer’s most famous TV-series is Svenska hjärtan. The story unfolds within a Gothenburg terraced housing area and portrays the lives of a number of families, including the ensuing parties, happiness, infidelity, and divorces. The series ran for four seasons, from 1987–1998, and gave rise to heated discussion. Carin Mannheimer’s 2003 series called Solbacken: Avd. E opened up a debate on care for the elderly in Sweden in the early 2000s.
Carin Mannheimer’s more light-hearted productions include plays such as Rika barn leka bäst in which she makes fun of a bordello’s rich male customers. She put on this play herself at Folkteatern in Gothenburg in 1996 and then used it as the basis for a film in 1997. Her TV-series called Saltön, which was based on the Viveka Lärn novels about the idyll of life in the Swedish archipelago along with the intrigues and disputes between fulltime island dwellers and the short-term summer residents, ran for a total of five years from 2005 until 2010. Yet another season was aired in 2017 under the direction of Lena Koppel. Carin Mannheimer’s extensive output can be characterised as having a sense of the burning and sensitive issues of the time regardless of the tones of her individual works.
Carin Mannheimer was awarded many prizes. Some of the biggest prizes include the ABF literary prize in 1973, Stora journalistpriset of 1977, and the Piraten prize in 2010. In 2011 Carin Mannheimer was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Sahlgrenska academy at Gothenburg university in recognition of how she “had demonstrated knowledge of the aged and brought attention to the importance of proper health care in which the individual remains the focus of attention”.
Carin Mannheimer died in Gothenburg in 2014. She is buried at Osby cemetery.