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|Born||27 February 1910
Nuremberg, Bavaria, German Empire
|Died||27 November 2002
Bühl, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Wolfgang Preiss (27 February 1910 – 27 November 2002) was a German theatre, film and television actor.
The son of a teacher, in the early 1930s Preiss studied philosophy, German and drama. He also took private acting classes with Hans Schlenck, making his stage début in Munich in 1932. He went to appear in various theatre productions in Heidelberg, Königsberg, Bonn, Bremen, Stuttgart and Berlin.
In 1942 he made his film début - he was exempted from military service specifically - in the UFA production Die grosse Liebe with Zarah Leander. After the end of the Second World War Preiss returned to the theatre, and from 1949 worked extensively dubbing films into German.
In 1954 he returned to film acting, appearing in Alfred Weidenmann's Canaris. The following year Preiss played the lead role of Claus von Stauffenberg in Falk Harnack's film Der 20. Juli, which dramatised the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. This role brought Preiss to popular attention and also the 1956 Federal Film Award.
From now on Preiss was largely typecast in the role of the upright and obligation-conscious German officer to the other A-list actor playing the fanatic (i.e. Paul Scofield in The Train) a part he played in many films, later reprising it in numerous international productions, predominantly in Italy and the USA, while occasionally playing a more typically cynical or brutal Nazi officer.
Preiss appeared in such productions as The Longest Day (1962), Otto Preminger's The Cardinal (1963), and with Jean-Paul Belmondo in Is Paris Burning? (1966). He starred alongside Burt Lancaster in John Frankenheimer's The Train (1964), Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan's Express (1965), Robert Mitchum in Anzio (1968), with Richard Burton, in the title role of Erwin Rommel in Raid on Rommel (1971), and The Boys From Brazil (1978) with Gregory Peck. He also appeared in several Italian language films, credited as "Luppo Prezzo", and played Field Marshal Von Rundstedt in Richard Attenborough's all-star war epic A Bridge Too Far (1977).
In addition, for the cinema-going public of West Germany he became the epitome of the evil genius in his role as Doctor Mabuse, a role he first played in 1960 (following Rudolf Klein-Rogge) in Fritz Lang's The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse. He went on to play the role four more times.
In 1987 received a second Federal Film Award for his outstanding work in film.
In film dubbing Preiss provided the voice for such actors as Lex Barker, Christopher Lee, Anthony Quinn, Claude Rains, Richard Widmark, as well as that of Conrad Veidt as "Major Strasser" in the remastered version of Casablanca.
- The Crew of the Dora (1943)
- Canaris (1954)
- Der 20. Juli (1955) as von Stauffenberg
- Der Cornet - Die Weise von Liebe und Tod (1956)
- Before Sundown (1956)
- Haie und kleine Fische (de) (1957)
- Stalingrad: Dogs, Do You Want to Live Forever? (1959)
- Prisoner of the Volga (1959)
- Herrin der Welt (1960)
- Mill of the Stone Women (1960)
- The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)
- Das Mädchen und der Staatsanwalt (1962)
- The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)
- The Longest Day (1962)
- The Black Cobra (1963)
- The Cardinal (1963)
- Scotland Yard vs. Dr. Mabuse (1963)
- 100 Horsemen (1964)
- The Train (1964)
- Von Ryan's Express (1965)
- Is Paris Burning? (1966)
- Avec la peau des autres (fr) (1966)
- Jack of Diamonds (1967)
- Dead Run (fr) (1967)
- Anzio (1968) as Kesselring
- Hannibal Brooks (1969)
- Battle of the Commandos (1969)
- Raid on Rommel (1971) as Rommel
- The Fifth Cord (1971)
- Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate (1971)
- The Master Touch (1972)
- The Salzburg Connection (1972)
- The Big Delirium (1975)
- A Bridge Too Far (1977) as von Rundstedt
- The Boys from Brazil (1978)
- Bloodline (1979)
- The Formula (1980)
- Fantasma d'amore (1981)
- The Second Victory (1986)
Selected television appearances
- Ike (1979) as Jodl
- The Winds of War (1983) as von Brauchitsch
- Albert Schweitzer (1987) as Albert Schweitzer
- War and Remembrance (1988) as von Brauchitsch