Otto Sander

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Otto Sander
Otto Sander Berlinale 2008.jpg
Born(1941-06-30)30 June 1941
Hanover, Germany
Died12 September 2013(2013-09-12) (aged 72)
Berlin, Germany
Years active1964–2013

Otto Sander (German: [ˈɔtoː ˈzandɐ] (listen); 30 June 1941 – 12 September 2013) was a German film, theater, and voice actor.


Education and early career[edit]

Sander grew up in Kassel, where he graduated in 1961 from the Friedrichgymnasium. After leaving school he spent his military service in 1961/62 with the Bundesmarine and left as reserve fenrik. Sander then studied theatre science, history of art and philosophy. In 1965 he made his acting debut at the Düsseldorfer chamber plays. After his first film work in the same year he abandoned his studies in 1967, and went to Munich to become a full-time actor.


His career is closely connected with the Schaubühne theatre in Berlin under the direction of Peter Stein. From 1980 onwards Sander appeared on several of Berlin's theatre stages, among others at the Schillertheater in 1981, at the Freie Volksbühne in 1985 and in 1989 at the Komödie am Kurfürstendamm. More recently he starred in Hauptmann von Köpenick at the Schauspielhaus Bochum (2004).


Among his best-known film roles are the angel Cassiel in Wings of Desire and its sequel Faraway, So Close! by Wim Wenders, and a shell-shocked U-boat commander, Kapitänleutnant Philipp Thomsen, in Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot. Sander also appeared in The Tin Drum (1979) as a trumpeter and in Comedian Harmonists, a biopic about the musical group of the same name. He also played a professor in the movie The Promise about the division of Berlin by the wall. In 1999 he played a role in Rosa von Praunheim's movie The Einstein of Sex.

In 1990, he was a member of the Jury at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

Voice acting[edit]

Because of his warm, strong voice, which earned him the sobriquet "The Voice" (the English term is used), he has been used frequently as narrator for television documentaries, and numerous talking books in the 1990s.

Personal life and death[edit]

He was married to the actress Monika Hansen and was stepfather to the actors Ben Becker and Meret Becker. He had two brothers, the lawyer Adolf Sander, the scientist Chris Sander, and a sister, the book dealer Marianne Sander.

Sander died, aged 72, in Berlin on 12 September 2013. No cause of death was given, though he had been diagnosed with cancer several years before his death.[2]


As Actor[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1970 Don't Fumble, Darling Revoluzzer Otto
1974 One or the Other of Us Rulle
1975 Meine Sorgen möcht' ich haben Harald Bornemann
1976 Summerfolk [de] Pjotr Suslov
1976 The Marquise of O Der Bruder, Der Forstmeister
1976 Vier gegen die Bank Eberhard Winter TV film
1979 The Tin Drum Musiker Meyn
1980 Palermo or Wolfsburg Prosecutor
1980 Die Ursache Anton Seiler TV film
1981 Strike Back [de] Kowalski
1981 Das Boot Phillip Thomsen
1981 The Man in Pyjamas Rudi
1982 Wer spinnt denn da, Herr Doktor? [de] Nummer Sieben
1984 Der Mord mit der Schere Inspector Spalt
1986 Rosa Luxemburg Karl Liebknecht
1986 Miko – aus der Gosse zu den Sternen
1986 Wahnfried Richard Wagner
1986 Caspar David Friedrich – Grenzen der Zeit [de] Gerichtsgehilfe
1987 Wings of Desire Cassiel
1988 Z.B. ... Otto Spalt Otto Spalt
1989 Der Bruch [de] Lubowitz
1990 Zeit der Rache
1990 Vorwärts Backward Pedestrian
1991 Amaurose
1992 Lyrische Suite. Das untergehende Vaterland
1993 Inge, April und Mai [de] Inges Vater
1993 Faraway, So Close! Cassiel
1993 The Movie Teller [de] Salzmann
1994 Hölderlin-Comics Friedrich Hölderlin - Elder
1994 Movie Days Maður á hesti
1994 Three Sisters Vershinin
1994 The Promise Professor Lorenz
1996 Killer Condom Mr. Higgins
1996 Conversation with the Beast Hitler double
1996 Truck Stop
1997 Comedian Harmonists Bruno Levy
1998 Der Traum von der Freiheit
1998 Am I Beautiful? David
1999 Untersuchung an Mädeln
1999 Der Einstein des Sex Prof. Steinach
2000 Marlene Bühnenmanager
2000 Les Misérables Monseigneur Bienvenu TV miniseries
2001 Sass Vater Sass
2003 Donau, Duna, Dunaj, Dunav, Dunarea Franz
2007 Der kleine König Macius – Der Film Erasmus Voice
2007 Das Herz ist ein dunkler Wald Helmut
2010 Life Is Too Long [de]
2012 Bis zum Horizont, dann links! Eckehardt Tiedgen

As Narrator[edit]

Year Title Notes
1983 A Love in Germany
1990 Werner – Beinhart!
1993 Der olympische Sommer
2001 100 Pro
2003 Werner – Gekotzt wird später!
2006 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
2008 Krabat


  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Juries". Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  2. ^ Otto Sander, Wings of Desire actor dies at 72

External links[edit]