Bruno Ganz

Bruno Ganz

Infobox actor
name = Bruno Ganz

imagesize = 255px
caption = Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler in "Der Untergang"
birthname =
birthdate = birth date and age|1941|3|22
location = Flagicon|Switzerland Zurich, Switzerland
deathdate =
deathplace =
height =
othername =
yearsactive =
spouse =
notable role = Damiel in "Wings of Desire" (1987)
Adolf Hitler in "Downfall" (2004)
academyawards =
emmyawards =

Bruno Ganz (Audio|De-Bruno_Ganz.ogg|listen; born March 22 1941) is a Swiss actor, best-known in the English-speaking world for his portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the 2004 film, "Der Untergang" (Downfall).



Ganz had decided to pursue an acting career by the time he entered university. He was equally drawn to stage and screen but initially enjoyed greater success in the theater. In 1960, at the age of 19, he landed his first film role, in "Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone" ("The Man in the Black Derby"). Despite the support of lead actor Gustav Knuth, his cinematic debut was not particularly successful and it was only many years later that his career in film got off the ground. Ganz made his theatrical debut the following year and devoted himself primarily to the stage for almost two decades thereafter. In 1970, he helped found the "Berliner Schaubühne" ensemble and two years later performed in the Salzburg Festival premier of Thomas Bernhard’s "Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige", under the direction of Claus Peymann. The German magazine "Theater heute" ("Theater Today") solidified Ganz’s reputation as a stage actor by pronouncing him "Schauspieler des Jahres" (Actor of the Year) in 1973. Perhaps his most breathtaking role was to perform for 13 hours straight as the lead in Peter Stein’s 2000 production of Goethe's "Faust" (Parts I and II).

Ganz played a professor opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in the thriller "The Boys from Brazil" (1978), about Nazi fugitives. He went on to portray Adolf Hitler in "Der Untergang" (2004).

Ganz’s breakthrough in cinema came with a major part in the 1976 film "Sommergäste". His performance launched a distinguished career that has included important roles in both European and American films, for which he has received several of Europe’s most prized accolades. He has worked with the directors Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Éric Rohmer, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. In 1979 he starred opposite Klaus Kinski in Herzog’s "" ("Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night"). More recently, in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s much acclaimed film "Der Untergang" (2004) (The Downfall), Ganz may be the second native German speaker after Albin Skoda (in Georg Wilhelm Pabst's 1955 film "Der letzte Akt") to play Adolf Hitler on screen, a role that most German directors had tended to relegate to very brief scenes or bit parts, often shot from behind.

In the United States, Ganz probably is best known for his role in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire" (American title), in which he played the angel Damiel, who chooses to re-enter the world of flesh and blood. Ganz's expressive, "everyman" face helps transform the chillyness of Wenders' vision of eternity into a warm, thoughtful rhapsody on the joy of being human.

Alcide Nikopol, the protagonist of the "Nikopol trilogy" of graphic novels by Enki Bilal, is clearly modelled after the likeness of a young Bruno Ganz.

Personal life

Ganz was born in Zürich to a Swiss mechanic father and a northern Italian mother. He is separated from his wife Sabine, whom he married in 1965, and with whom he had his only son Daniel (b.1972). When not in his hometown of Zürich, he resides in Venice and Berlin.


*1973 "Actor of the Year" in German magazine "Theater heute (Theatre Today)"
*1976 German Film Awards
*1979 Deutscher Darstellerpreis (Chaplin-Shoe)
*1991 Hans-Reinhart-Ring, given by The Swiss Society for Theatre Culture
*1996 Iffland-Ring
*2000 Swiss Film Awards
*2000 Ritter der Kunst und Literatur/Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
*2000 David di Donatello
*2001 Berliner Filmpreis (Berlin Film Awards)
*2004 Bavarian Film Awards, Best Actor []


*"Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone" ("The Man in the Black Derby"), 1960
*"Chikita", 1961
*"Sommergäste" ("Summer Guests"), 1976
*"Lumière" ("Lumiere"), 1976
*"Die Marquise von O..." ("The Marquise of O..."), 1976
*"Die Wildente" ("Wild Duck"), 1976
*"Der Amerikanische Freund" ("The American Friend"), 1977
*"Die Linkshändige Frau" ("The Left-Handed Woman"), 1977
*"The Boys from Brazil", 1978
*"" ("Nosferatu the Vampyre"), 1979
*"Retour à la bien-aimée" ("Return to the Beloved"), 1979
*"5% de risques", 1980
*"Der Erfinder" ("The Inventor"), 1980
*"La Dame aux camélias" ("Lady of the Camelias"), 1980
*"Die Fälschung" ("Circle of Deceit"), 1981
*"Krieg und Frieden" ("War and Peace"), 1983
*"Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire)", 1987
*"Strapless", 1989
*"Erfolg" ("Success"), 1991
*"La Domenica specialmente" ("Especially on Sunday"), 1991
*"The Last Days of Chez Nous", 1992
*"Brandnacht" ("Night on Fire"), 1992
*"In weiter Ferne, so nah!" ("Faraway, So Close!"), 1993
*"L'Absence" ("The Absence"), 1994
*"Saint-Ex", 1997
* "Mia aioniotita kai mia mera" ("Eternity and a Day") 1998
*"Pane e tulipani" ("Bread and Tulips"), 2000
*"Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust", 2001 TV
*"Epsteins Nacht" ("Epstein's Night"), 2002
*"Behind Me" - Bruno Ganz, 2002
*"Luther", 2003
*"The Manchurian Candidate", 2004
*"Der Untergang" ("The Downfall"), 2004
*"" (2005)
*"Baruto no Gakuen" (バルトの楽園), 2006
*"Vitus", 2007
*"Youth Without Youth", 2007
*"The Reader", 2008
*"Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" ("The Baader Meinhof Complex"), 2008

External links

*imdb name|id=0004486|name=Bruno Ganz

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