Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Actor Maximilian Schell dies at 83

Actor Maximilian Schell has died aged 83 (AP)
Actor Maximilian Schell has died aged 83 (AP)

Austrian actor Maximilian Schell, who won the best actor Oscar in the early 1960s for his role in the drama Judgment at Nuremberg, has died at the age of 83.

Maximilian's agent Patricia Baumbauer said that he died overnight on Saturday at a hospital in Innsbruck following a "sudden and serious illness", according to the Austria Press Agency.

The star, who was born in Vienna, won his Oscar in 1961 and later was honoured with further Oscar nominations - in the best actor category for The Man in the Glass Booth in 1975, and for best supporting actor in Julia in 1977.

Born to a Swiss writer and an Austrian actress, he was the younger brother of Maria Schell, an icon of the German-speaking film world, who died in 2005.

Maximilian was raised in Switzerland after his family fled Germany's annexation of his homeland.

He followed in the footsteps of his older sister Maria and brother Carl, making his stage debut in 1952. He then appeared in a number of German films before relocating to Hollywood in 1958.

By then, Maria Schell was already an international film star, winning the best actress award at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in The Last Bridge.

Maximilian made his Hollywood debut in Edward Dmytryk's The Young Lions, a Second World War drama starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin.

He later worked as a producer, starting with an adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Castle, and as a director.

First Love, adapted from the Igor Turgenev novella - which Maximilian wrote, produced, directed and starred in - was nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign film category in 1970. The Pedestrian, another movie under his direction and production, received the same nomination three years later.

Perhaps his most significant film as a director was his 1984 documentary on Marlene Dietrich, Marlene, which was nominated for a best documentary Oscar. Marlene allowed herself to be recorded but refused to be filmed, bringing out the most in Maxmilian's talent to penetrate images and uncover reality.

He was also a highly successful concert pianist and conductor, performing with such luminaries as Claudio Abbado and Leonard Bernstein, and with orchestras in Berlin and Vienna.

In the 1990s, Maximilian made appearances in films including The Freshman, Telling Lies in America and Deep Impact. In 1992, he received a Golden Globe for his supporting role as Lenin alongside Robert Duvall in the HBO miniseries Stalin.

In a documentary entitled My Sister Maria, he portrayed his loving relationship with his sister, who died in 2005.

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