Bruno Ganz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bruno Ganz
Bruno Ganz 2011.jpg
Bruno Ganz in 2011
Born (1941-03-22) 22 March 1941 (age 75)
Zürich, Switzerland
Years active 1960–present
Spouse(s) Sabine (separated)
Children Daniel

Bruno Ganz (German: [ˈbruːno ˈɡant͡s]; 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 prominent supporting 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]

Early life[edit]

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 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, his 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).

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

In 1987, Ganz then became known for his role in Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire, as the angel Damiel.

Ganz is best known for portraying 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 almost universally 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[edit]

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




External links[edit]