Freitag is the son of the Swiss opera singer Otto Freitag. He was trained as an actor at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. During the Nazi era he went to Switzerland, where he was active as an actor at the Schauspielhaus Zürich (Zürich playhouse). In 1945 he married the German actress Maria Becker, who had studied acting in Vienna and who since had been at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, which had benefitted from the presence of German émigrés during the second world war. Becker became a Swiss citizen by marrying Freitag.
With his wife Maria Becker and the German stage actor Will Quadflieg he founded the Zürcher Schauspieltruppe in 1956 in Zürich, where he was also a part-time administrator. That troupe performed throughout the German-speaking countries and in the United States.
On stage he played many classical and modern roles. Beginning in 1941 he also appeared in films—in particular in the starring role in William Tell. Later he often appeared on television.
Freitag and Maria Becker were divorced in 1966, but they continued to work together, especially in the travelling theater company Schauspieltruppe Zürich that they had founded. They had three sons, two of whom—Benedict Freitag and Oliver Tobias—became actors.
In 1994, Freitag's autobiography, Es wollt mir behagen, mit Lachen die Wahrheit zu sagen was published by Pendo Verlag.
- Love is Duty Free (1941) – Schweizer Zollbeamter
- Bieder der Flieger (1941) – Oskar Bider
- Wilder Urlaub (1943) – Feldweibel Epper
- Die Frau am Wege (1948) – Der Flüchtling
- White Gold (1949) – Andreas
- Es liegt was in der Luft (1950)
- Decision Before Dawn (1951) – Sgt. Paul Richter
- The Village Under the Sky (1953) – Dr. Michael Ellert
- Eine Frau von heute (1954) – Aldo Mattei
- Circus of Love (Rummelplatz der Liebe) (1954) – Richards
- Conchita and the Engineer (1954) – Cyll Farney
- Der schweigende Engel (1954) – Robert
- Geliebtes Fräulein Doktor (1954) – Pater Anselmus
- Ich weiß, wofür ich lebe (1955) – Peter Neumann, Mechaniker
- Der 20. Juli (The Plot to Assassinate Hitler) (1955) – Hauptmann Lindner
- Magic Fire (1955) – August Roeckel
- Wenn der Vater mit dem Sohne (1955) – Roy Bentley
- Il prigioniero della montagna (Flucht in die Dolomiten) (1955) – Sergio
- Der erste Frühlingstag (1955) – Bruno
- Der Meineidbauer (1956) – 1. Grenzpolizist
- Von der Liebe besiegt (Schicksal am Matterhorn) (1956) – Beni Kronig – Bergführer
- Die große Chance (1957) – Kaplan Sommer
- Auferstehung (Resurrection) (1958) – Simonson
- SOS – Gletscherpilot (1959) – Ingenieur Gisler
- William Tell (1961) – Wilhelm Tell
- Das letzte Kapitel (The Last Chapter) (1961) – Rechtsanwalt Robertsen
- The Longest Day (1962) – Meye's Aide (uncredited)
- The Great Escape (1963) – Captain Posen
- Néa (1976) – Benito
- Riedland (1976)
- Berlin Tunnel 21 (1981) – Dr. Lentz
- Wild Geese II (1985) – Stroebling
- Die Liebenden vom Alexanderplatz (2001) – (final film role)
Notes and references
- "Schauspieler und Regisseur Robert Freitag gestorben (obituary in German)". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10.
- Oliver Meier (4 March 2010). "Ich habe heute noch Lampenfieber (I still have stage-fright today)". Berner Zeitung. Retrieved 2010-07-10.