Marthe Keller

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Marthe Keller
Born (1945-01-28) 28 January 1945 (age 70)
Basel, Switzerland
Occupation Actress, opera director
Years active 1964–present

Marthe Keller (born 28 January 1945 in Basel, Switzerland) is a Swiss actress and opera director.

Known career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Marthe studied ballet as a child, but stopped after a skiing accident at age 16. She changed to acting, and worked in Berlin at the Schiller Theatre and the Berliner Ensemble.[1]

Film work[edit]

Keller's earliest film appearances were in Funeral in Berlin (1966, in which she was not credited) and the German film Wilder Reiter GmbH (1967). She appeared in a series of French films in the 1970s, including Un cave (1971), La raison du plus fou (1973) and Toute une vie (And Now My Love, 1974). Her most famous American film appearances are her Golden Globe-nominated performance as Dustin Hoffman's girlfriend in Marathon Man (1976) and her performance as a femme fatale pro-Palestinian terrorist who leads an attack on the Super Bowl in Black Sunday (1977). Keller acted alongside Al Pacino in the 1977 romantic drama film Bobby Deerfield, based on Erich Maria Remarque's novel Heaven Has No Favorites, and subsequently the two of them were involved in a relationship. She also acted alongside William Holden in Billy Wilder's 1978 romantic drama Fedora.

After 1978, Keller worked more steadily in European cinema compared to American movies. Her later films include Dark Eyes (1987), with Marcello Mastroianni.[2]

Known theater work[edit]

In 2001, Keller appeared in an all-star Broadway adaptation of Abby Mann's play Judgment at Nuremberg, directed by John Tillinger, as Mrs. Bertholt, in the role played by Marlene Dietrich in the 1961 Stanley Kramer film version.[3][4] She was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress for this performance.

Opera work[edit]

In addition to her work in film and theatre, Keller has developed a career in classical music as a speaker and opera director. She has performed the speaking role of Joan of Arc in Arthur Honegger's oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher on several occasions, with conductors such as Seiji Ozawa[5][6] and Kurt Masur.[7] She has recorded the role for Deutsche Grammophon with Ozawa (DG 429 412-2). Keller has also recited the spoken part in Igor Stravinsky's Perséphone.[8][9] She has performed classical music melodramas for speaker and piano in recital.[10] The Swiss composer Michael Jarrell wrote the melodrama Cassandre, after the novel of Christa Wolf, for Keller, who gave the world premiere in 1994.

Keller's first production as an opera director was Dialogues des Carmélites, for Opéra National du Rhin, in 1999. This production subsequently received a semi-staged performance in London that year.[11] She has also directed Lucia di Lammermoor for Washington National Opera and for Los Angeles Opera.[12] Her directorial debut at the Metropolitan Opera was in a 2004 production of Don Giovanni.[13][14][15]

Keller has one son, Alexandre (born 1971), from her relationship with director Philippe de Broca.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director Notes
1966 Funeral in Berlin uncredited Guy Hamilton
1967 Wilder Reiter GmbH (de) the nun Franz-Josef Spieker (de)
1969 Le Diable par la queue (fr) Amélie Philippe de Broca
1970 Les Caprices de Marie (fr) Marie Panneton Philippe de Broca
1971 Arsène Lupin Countess Natasha Jean-Pierre Decourt (fr) TV series, 3 episodes
1972 La Demoiselle d'Avignon (fr) Koba Michel Wyn (fr) TV series
The Old Maid Vicka Jean-Pierre Blanc
1974 Only the Wind Knows the Answer Angela Delpierre Alfred Vohrer
And Now My Love Sarah/her mother/her grandmother Claude Lelouch
1975 Down the Ancient Staircase Bianca Mauro Bolognini
1976 Marathon Man Elsa Opel John Schlesinger
1977 Black Sunday Dahlia Iyad John Frankenheimer
Bobby Deerfield Lillian Sydney Pollack
1978 Fedora Fedora/Antonia Billy Wilder
1980 The Formula Lisa Spangler John G. Avildsen
1981 The Amateur Elisabeth Charles Jarrott
1982 La Certosa di Parma (it) Gina Sanseverina Mauro Bolognini TV miniseries
1983 Wagner Mathilde Wesendonck Tony Palmer TV miniseries
1985 Red Kiss Bronka Véra Belmont
Joan Lui Judy Johnson Adriano Celentano
1987 Dark Eyes Tina Nikita Mikhalkov
1991 Young Catherine Princess Johanna Michael Anderson TV miniseries
1994 My Friend Max Catherine Mercier Michel Brault
1996 Sostiene Pereira Mrs. Delgado Roberto Faenza
1998 The School of Flesh Misses Thorpe Benoît Jacquot
2002 Time of the Wolf Rebecca McGregor Rod Pridy
2004 Nightsongs (de) Mother Romuald Karmakar
2007 Chrysalis Professor Brügen Julien Leclercq
2010 Hereafter the Swiss doctor Clint Eastwood
2011 The Giants Rosa Bouli Lanners
Page Eight Leona Chew David Hare TV film
Mein bester Feind (de) Hannah Kaufmann Wolfgang Murnberger (de)
2013 The Mark of the Angels – Miserere Laura Bernheim Sylvain White


External links[edit]