The son of a police officer, Pfaff was best known as police officer Hans Sperling in the series of the same name. Sperling also appeared in two films about Swedish policeman Martin Beck, namely Flickan i jordkällaren and Den japanska shungamålningen. In 2002 he starred in Goebbels und Geduldig. Between 1984 and 1996 he played Otto Schatzschneider in the German krimi series Der Fahnder.
Pfaff and his wife Eva Maria had two children, twins Johanna and Maximilian. Pfaff was professor for acting at the Graz University of Music and Performing Arts 1983–1990.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, and succumbed on 5 March 2013, aged 65.
- Der Fahnder (TV series, 1984–1996)
- Das Phantom – Die Jagd nach Dagobert (TV film, 1994)
- Balko (TV series, 1995–1997)
- Sperling (TV series, 1996–2007)
- Bruder Esel (TV series, 1996)
- Late Show (1999)
- Goebbels und Geduldig (2001)
- Die Affäre Semmeling (TV miniseries, 2002)
- Bloch (TV series, 2002–2013)
- Im Schatten der Macht (TV film, 2003)
- Der Dicke (TV series, 2005–2012)
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