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Maximilian Schell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Born in Vienna, Austria
Died in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria  (pneumonia)
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Maximilian Schell was the most successful German-speaking actor in English-language films since Emil Jannings, the winner of the first Best Actor Academy Award. Like Jannings, Schell won the Oscar, but unlike him, he was a dedicated anti-Nazi. Indeed, with the exception of Maurice Chevalier and Marcello Mastroianni, Schell was undoubtedly the most successful non-anglophone foreign actor in the history of American cinema.

Schell was born in Vienna, Austria on December 8, 1930, but raised in in Zurich, Switzerland. (Austria became part of Germany after the anschluss of 1938), then was occupied by the allies from 1945 until 1955, when it again joined the family of nations.) He learned his craft on the stage beginning in 1952, and made his reputation with appearances in German-language films and television. He is a fine Shakespearian actor, and had a huge success with "Richard III" (he has also appeared in as the eponymous prince in a German-language version of "Hamlet").

Schell made his Hollywood debut in 1958 in the World War II film The Young Lions (1958) quite by accident, as the producers had wanted to hire his sister Maria Schell, but lines of communication got crossed, and he was the one hired. He impressed American producers as his turn as the friend of German soldier Marlon Brando, and subsequently assayed the role of the German defense attorney in the television drama Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) on "Playhouse 90" in 1959. He was also cast in the big screen remake, for which he won the 1961 Academy Award for Best Actor, beating out co-star Spencer Tracy for the Oscar. He also won a Golden Globe and the New York Film Critics Circle Award for the role. Schell ultimately won two more Oscar nominations for acting, in 1976 for Best Actor for The Man in the Glass Booth (1975) and in 1978 as Best Supporting Actor for Julia (1977) (which also brought him the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor). He has twice been nominated for an Emmy for his TV work, and won the 1993 Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series, mini-series or made-for-TV movie for Stalin (1992).

Schell has also has directed films, and his 1974 film The Pedestrian (1973) ("The Pedestrian"), which Schell wrote, produced, directed, and starred in, was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and won the Golden Globe in the same category. His documentary about Marlene Dietrich, Marlene (1984), was widely hailed as a masterpiece of the non-fiction genre and garnered its producers a Best Documentary Oscar nomination in 1985. In 2002, Schell released My Sister Maria (2002) (My Sister Maria), a documentary about the career of and his relationship with Maria Schell. Since the 1990s, Schell has appeared in many German language made-for-TV films, such as the 2003 film Alles Glück dieser Erde (2003) (All the Luck in the World) and in the mini-series The Return of the Dancing Master (2004), which was based on Henning Mankell's novel. He has also continued to appear on stage, appearing in dual roles in the 2000 Broadway production of the stage version of "Judgment at Nuremberg", and most recently in Robert Altman's London production of Arthur Miller's play "Resurrection Blues" in 2006. He died on 31st of January 2014, aged 83, in Innsbruck, Austria.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (2)

Iva Mihanovic (20 August 2013 - 1 February 2014) (his death)
Natalya Andreychenko (1985 - 2005) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (22)

Father of Nastassja Schell (born in 1989).
Son of actress Margarete Schell Noé.
He was the first actor to win an Oscar (for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)) for a role he originally performed on television (in a 1959 episode of Playhouse 90 (1956)). The only other actor to accomplish that feat was Cliff Robertson, who won an Oscar for Charly (1968) after first playing the role in "The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon" on The United States Steel Hour (1953).
Godfather of actress Angelina Jolie
A part-time director, his compelling documentary Marlene (1984) was nominated for an Oscar in 1985 and his last film My Sister Maria (2002) chronicled the life, career and eventual diminished capacity of his noted actress sister Maria Schell.
In later life, he began directing operatic productions. His first foray in the musical medium was a Swiss production of Verdi's "La Traviata". This passion was triggered when he was performing in the play "Jedermann" (or "Everyman") in Salzburg, Austria from 1978-1982, and he came into contact with several musical conductors including Leonard Bernstein, James Levine and Claudio Abbado.
Had appeared in the Old Vic's early 2006 production of the Arthur Miller play "Resurrection Blues", which was directed by Robert Altman in his London theatrical debut, The play was widely panned by critics, partly due to the divergent acting styles of the eclectic cast assembled by Altman, which included the urbane Englishman James Fox playing the intellectual cousin of Schell's Germanic dictator.
In 1990, he declined an Honorary German Film Award, feeling he was too young to receive an award for lifetime achievement.
Received the "Actor of the Millennium" award at The Baltic Pearl Film Festival in Latvia. He collapsed at the festival and was been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis which is related to his diabetes. [August 2000]
His interest in acting began at early age. When age 11, he appeared in a professional production of "William Tell" and the same year wrote a play which was produced by his school.
He appeared in four films with Vanessa Redgrave: Julia (1977), Young Catherine (1991), Little Odessa (1994) and Deep Impact (1998).
He appeared in four films with Liv Ullmann: Pope Joan (1972), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Players (1979) and The Rose Garden (1989).
Was among the actors in the running for Dr. Hans Fallada in the science fiction horror film Lifeforce (1985). Frank Finlay was cast instead.
He dubbed himself in the English version of Hamlet (1960).
At the Academy Awards presentation for 1961 (1962), Joan Crawford presented Schell with his "Best Actor" Oscar; the following year, Schell, as presenter of the "Best Actress" award, presented the Oscar to Joan Crawford, who was accepting for absent winner Anne Bancroft.
He directed his mother Margarete Schell Noé in two films: The Pedestrian (1973) and End of the Game (1975).
He only appeared in one film with his sister, Maria, The Odessa File (1974).
He directed 2 films that were Oscar nominated for Foreign Language Film: First Love (1970) and The Pedestrian (1973).
His father was a Swiss poet and his mother an Austrian actress.
He was a stage producer in Germany.

Personal Quotes (13)

[on Marlene Dietrich] You won't believe it, but the lady is extremely funny.
[on directing movies] It's more fulfilling than acting, but it's also more wounding to get bad reviews as a director than an actor.
When asked by journalists in Vienna (his family's home) what I enjoy most about living and working in North America, I answered, "Freedom." The reporters told me, "We're sorry, Mr. Schell; but it needs to be something else, because we can't print that." So I rest my case.
I am America's number-one fan. I like your food. Especially corn flakes.
I then decided, either you are a scientist or an artist. . . . To me it is much more important . . . to admire and feel and be stimulated and inspired. . . Art comes out of chaos, not out of a mechanical analyzing. So as soon as I made up my mind, there was no sense any more in continuing to study and in getting a degree. It is like an award; it does not mean anything in itself. . . . A university degree is just a title. I don't think an artist should have a title. It was time for me to concentrate on acting.
My father and my uncle hunt deer there [the family farm], but I do not like to hunt. I like to walk through the forest by myself. In 1948 and 1949, when I wrote part of my first novel, which I have never shown to anyone, I isolated myself in one of the hunting cabins for three months, without a telephone, without electricity, with heat only from a large open fireplace.
Acting talent is something that all children are born with. They naturally play cops and robbers, mothers and daughters. True art in acting is different. To be an artist, you must be lonely. I feel that I must keep my life lonely in order to be as free as possible. I cannot think or act unless I am free, and I cannot be free unless I am alone. So far, I have lived like a hermit, alone, and I expect to die alone.
I grew up reading the classics. When I'd read the books of writers like Zane Grey, my father would always say to me, "Why don't you read Goethe?" My father today is not impressed by my acting in movies. For my father, the film is not a real art, and as he is a poet, he does not care about outside success. When I see him, we talk about poetry and writing.
One has to have the courage to make mistakes.
I have a piano in my apartment in Munich, and I play for hours at a time for my own pleasure. After I make a film, I find I need to rest. An actor must have pauses in between work, to renew himself, to read, to walk, to chop wood. Now that I have had success, I find there are some drawbacks greater demands on my time for myself but I like it. Freedom I always had, but now the possibilities are so much greater for me to do what I want. When you want to do something that is really in your heart, you keep it there until you do it. I do not like to say what these things are. Picasso would not say, "I am now going to paint something." He would do it first. I, also, want to do it first.
I'm Swiss, but I was born in Austria.
Socrates once said, "Know yourself." I do not agree. I think that is bad advice. You should not know yourself. By knowing, you take away the secret of yourself. That sentence is one of the most dangerous sentences ever written, especially for an actor. If you are conscious of what you are doing, you are thinking about it, and not doing your best. You are not acting spontaneously. Every actor has a little bit of every other man inside him. And this is how it must be, for it is this that enables him, in each part he plays, to reach what he is or what he is hoping to be. Almost always, the first time I read a script it seems a little silly. It is difficult for me to find any good in it. Shakespeare is different. It is easy to read his plays, and they always seem good.
I grew up in a theatre atmosphere and took it for granted. I remember the theatre, as a child, the way most people remember their mother's cooking. Acting was all around me, and so was poetry. I made my debut in the theatre at the age of three, in Vienna . . .

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