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Bruno Ganz
Bruno Ganz 2011.jpg
Bruno Ganz in 2011
Born (1941-03-22) 22 March 1941 (age 77)
Zürich, Switzerland
Years active1960–present
Spouse(s)Sabine Ganz (separated)

Bruno Ganz (German: [ˈbruːno ˈɡant͡s] (About this soundlisten); born 22 March 1941) is a Swiss actor who has been a prominent figure in German language film and television for over fifty years. He has collaborated several times with filmmaker Wim Wenders, first as Jonathan Zimmerman in The American Friend (1977) and again as Damiel the Angel in both Wings of Desire (1987) and Faraway, So Close! (1993).

Ganz is internationally renowned for portraying Adolf Hitler in the Academy Award-nominated film Downfall (2004). He has also had roles in several English language films, including The Boys From Brazil (1978), Strapless (1989), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), The Reader (2008), Unknown (2011) and Remember (2015).

On stage, Ganz portrayed Dr. Heinrich Faust in Peter Stein's staging of Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two in 2000.[1]

Ganz is the current holder of the Iffland-Ring, which is passed from actor to actor as being judged the "most significant and most worthy actor of the German-speaking theatre".

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Bruno Ganz (Actor) - El Hundimiento (2004)
  • Downfall - TRAILER (2005)
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  • THE PARTY | Trailer
  • Adolf Hitler in movies



Early life

Bruno Ganz was born in Zürich to a Swiss mechanic father and a northern Italian mother.[2][3] He had decided to pursue an acting career by the time he entered university. He was equally drawn to stage and screen but initially enjoyed greater success on the stage.[4][5]


Ganz at the German Film Festival in Tokyo, 11 June 2005
Ganz at the German Film Festival in Tokyo, 11 June 2005

In 1960, Ganz landed his first film role, in Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone (The Gentleman in the Black Derby). Despite the support of lead actor Gustav Knuth, Ganz's cinematic debut was not particularly successful and it was only many years later that his career in film got off the ground. Ganz made his theatrical debut the following year and devoted himself primarily to the stage for almost two decades thereafter. In 1970, he helped found the Berliner Schaubühne ensemble and two years later performed in the Salzburg Festival premier of Thomas Bernhard's Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige, under the direction of Claus Peymann.

The German magazine Theater heute (Theater Today) solidified Ganz's reputation as a stage actor by pronouncing him Schauspieler des Jahres (Actor of the Year) in 1973. One of Ganz's most physically demanding stage portrayals was the title character in Peter Stein’s 2000 production of Goethe's Faust (Parts I and II), as he suffered injuries during rehearsals and his assumption of the role was delayed.[6]

Ganz made his film breakthrough in a major part in the 1976 film Sommergäste, launching a widely recognized film career in both Europe and the U.S. He has worked with directors Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Éric Rohmer, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. In 1977, he co-starred with Dennis Hopper in Wenders's American Friend, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game. In 1979, he starred opposite Klaus Kinski in Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night). In 2017 he was in Sally Potter's The Party.

Ganz played a professor opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in the thriller The Boys from Brazil (1978), about Nazi fugitives.

In 1987, Ganz first played the role of the angel Damiel in Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire. He reprised the role in Wenders' film Faraway, So Close! in 1993.

Der Untergang

Ganz portrayed Adolf Hitler in Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004).[7] Ganz did four months of research on Hitler in preparation for the role.[8] His performance, which was widely critically acclaimed, became the basis for a series of "Hitler Rant" parody videos on YouTube. In 2014, popular culture website named his performance as the best portrayal of a real-life 'bad guy' of all time, beating out competition from Forest Whitaker and Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning portrayals of Idi Amin and Aileen Wuornos, respectively.[9]

Ganz appeared in The Reader and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, which were both nominated for the 81st Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film).

Ganz has also served as a speaker in classical music works, including a recording of Luigi Nono's Il canto sospeso with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.[10]

Personal life

Ganz is separated from his wife Sabine, whom he married in 1965; they have a son named Daniel.[11]

In 2018, doctors in Salzburg found that Ganz is suffering from intestinal cancer, and he immediately began chemotherapy.[12]




  1. ^ Germany's Classic of Classics, All 21 Hours
  2. ^ "Born: 22 March 1941 in Zurich, Switzerland". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  3. ^ "Born 1941 to a Swiss worker and his Northern Italian wife". Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  4. ^ "Swiss-born actor Bruno Ganz established himself in Germany, first as co-founder of the Schaubuhne Theatre company, then as a romantic lead in films". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  5. ^ "he got his first film role with 19... ...but his absolute break through he has with in a play by Peter Zadek in Bremen". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  6. ^ John Rockwell (4 January 2001). "With Pivotal Actor Back, Marathon Faust Gets Another Look". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  7. ^ Rob Mackie (16 September 2005). "Downfall". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  8. ^ Krysia Diver and Stephen Moss (25 March 2005). "Desperately seeking Adolf". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  9. ^
  10. ^ John Rockwell (24 October 1993). "After Karajan In Berlin, No Deluge Yet". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  11. ^ "Spouse: Sabine Ganz (1965 – present) (separated) 1 child". Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  12. ^ "Bruno Ganz leidet an Krebs (German)". Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  13. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1713. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Prize Winner Bruno Ganz – Category "National Lifetime Achievement Award"". HÖRZU. Archived from the original on 25 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  16. ^ Un Juif pour l'exemple on IMDb

External links

This page was last edited on 30 November 2018, at 16:40
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