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Joseph Schildkraut in 1924
22 March 1896|
|Died||21 January 1964
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Elise Bartlett (1923–1930; divorced)
Marie McKay (1932–1962; her death)
Leonora Rogers (1963–1964; his death)
Joseph Schildkraut (22 March 1896 – 21 January 1964) was an Austrian-American stage and film actor.
Schildkraut was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Erna (née Weinstein) and stage (and later motion picture) actor Rudolph Schildkraut. His family was Jewish. The younger Schildkraut moved to the United States in the early 1900s. He appeared in many Broadway productions. Among the plays that he starred in was a notable production of Peer Gynt.
He then began working in silent movies, although he did return to the stage occasionally. He had early success in film as the Chevalier de Vaudrey in D. W. Griffith's Orphans of the Storm with Lillian Gish. Later, he was featured in Cecil B. DeMille's epic 1927 film The King of Kings, as Judas Iscariot. Schildraut's father Rudolf also appeared in the film. Joseph Schildkraut also played a Viennese-accented, non-singing Gaylord Ravenal in the 1929 part-talkie film version of Edna Ferber's Show Boat. The character as written in the 1929 film was much closer to Ferber's original than to the depiction of him in the classic Kern and Hammerstein musical play based on the novel as well as the 1936 and 1951 film versions of the musical, but the 1929 film was not a critical or box-office success.
Schildkraut received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola (1937). He gained further fame for playing the ambitious duc d'Orléans in the historical epic Marie Antoinette (1938), opposite Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore and Robert Morley, and gave a notable performance as the villainous Nicolas Fouquet in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939).
Schildkraut is perhaps best remembered today for playing the role of Otto Frank in both the original stage production and film version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). He was also an active character actor, and appeared in guest roles on several early television shows, including the Hallmark Hall of Fame, in which he played Claudius in the 1953 television production of Hamlet, with Maurice Evans in the title role. Schildkraut also hosted and starred in Joseph Schildkraut Presents, a short-lived series on the DuMont Television Network from October 1953 to January 1954.
In 1961, during the 3rd season of The Twilight Zone, he made his first appearance on episode 9, "Deaths-Head Revisited". He later played an elderly man in "The Trade-Ins" in season 3, episode 31 of the same show. In 1963, he was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award for his performance in a guest starring role on NBC's Sam Benedict legal drama which starred Edmond O'Brien and Richard Rust.
Schildkraut was married three times. He died in New York. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6780 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
- Orphans of the Storm (1921)
- Theodor Herzl (1921)
- The Road to Yesterday (1925)
- Meet the Prince (1926)
- Shipwrecked (1926)
- Young April (1926)
- The Heart Thief (1927)
- The King of Kings (1927)
- His Dog (1927)
- Show Boat (1929)
- Cock o' the Walk (1930)
- Carnival (1931)
- Viva Villa! (1934)
- Cleopatra (1934)
- The Crusades (1935)
- The Garden of Allah (1936)
- Slave Ship (1937)
- Souls at Sea (1937)
- The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
- Lancer Spy (1937)
- Marie Antoinette (1938)
- Suez (1938)
- The Baroness and the Butler (1938)
- Lady of the Tropics (1939)
- Idiot's Delight (1939)
- The Three Musketeers (1939)
- The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
- Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)
- The Rains Came (1939)
- Rangers of Fortune (1940)
- The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
- The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)
- Flame of Barbary Coast (1945)
- The Cheaters (1945)
- Monsieur Beaucaire (1946)
- Northwest Outpost (1947)
- The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
- The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
- Joseph Schildkraut, My Father and I, as told to Leo Lania, New York 1959.
- Parker, John (1916). Who's Who in the Theatre 3. Pittman. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
- "Joseph Schildkraut, Noted American Jewish Actor, Dead; Was 68". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 23 January 1964. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
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