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Bruno Ganz

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Title: Bruno Ganz  
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Subject: Faraway, So Close!, Wings of Desire, Eternity and a Day, The American Friend, The Last Days of Chez Nous
Collection: 1941 Births, 20Th-Century Swiss Male Actors, 21St-Century Swiss Male Actors, Chevaliers of the Légion D'Honneur, Chevaliers of the Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres, David Di Donatello Winners, European Film Awards Winners (People), German Film Award Winners, Iffland-Ring, Living People, Male Actors of Italian Descent, People from Zürich, Recipients of the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, Recipients of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Swiss Male Film Actors, Swiss Male Stage Actors, Swiss Male Television Actors, Swiss People of Italian Descent, Zurich University of the Arts Alumni
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Bruno Ganz

Bruno Ganz
Bruno Ganz (2011)
Born (1941-03-22) 22 March 1941
Zürich, Switzerland
Years active 1960–present
Spouse(s) Sabine (separated)
Children Daniel

Bruno Ganz (German: ; born 22 March 1941) is a Swiss actor, known for his roles as Damiel in Wings of Desire, as Adolf Hitler in Downfall and as Professor Rohl in The Reader.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Awards 4
  • Filmography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Bruno Ganz was born in Zürich, to a Swiss mechanic father and a northern Italian mother.[1][2] He 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.[3][4]


Ganz at German Film Festival in Tokyo, 11 June 2005

In 1960, Ganz landed his first film role, in Der Herr mit der schwarzen Melone (The Gentleman 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. One of Ganz's most physically demanding stage portrayals was the title character in Peter Stein’s 2000 production of Goethe's Faust (Parts I and II), as he suffered injuries during rehearsals and his assumption of the role was delayed.[5]

Ganz made his film breakthrough in a major part in the 1976 film Sommergäste, launching a widely recognized film career in both Europe and the U.S. He has worked with directors Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Éric Rohmer, and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. In 1977, he co-starred with Dennis Hopper in Wenders's American Friend, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game. In 1979, he starred opposite Klaus Kinski in Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night).

Ganz played a professor opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in the thriller The Boys from Brazil (1978), about Nazi fugitives.

In 1987, Ganz then became known for his role in Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire, as the angel Damiel.

Ganz is best known for portraying Adolf Hitler in Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004).[6] Ganz did four months of research on Hitler in preparation for the role.[7] His performance, which was almost universally critically acclaimed, became the basis for a series of "Hitler Rant" videos on YouTube. In 2014, popular culture website named his performance as the best portrayal of a real-life 'bad guy' of all time, beating out competition from Forest Whitaker and Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning portrayals of Idi Amin and Aileen Wuornos, respectively.[8]

Ganz appeared in The Reader and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, which were both nominated for the 81st Academy Awards (best picture and best foreign language film).

Ganz has also served as a speaker in classical music works, including a recording of Luigi Nono's Il canto sospeso with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.[9]

Personal life

Bruno Ganz is separated from his wife Sabine, whom he married in 1965; they have a son named Daniel.[10]




  1. ^ "Born: 22 March 1941 in Zurich, Switzerland". Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  2. ^ "Born 1941 to a Swiss worker and his Northern Italian wife". Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  3. ^ "Swiss-born actor Bruno Ganz established himself in Germany, first as co-founder of the Schaubuhne Theatre company, then as a romantic lead in films". Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  4. ^ "he got his first film role with 19... ...but his absolute break through he has with in a play by Peter Zadek in Bremen". Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  5. ^ John Rockwell (4 January 2001). Gets Another Look"Faust"With Pivotal Actor Back, Marathon .  
  6. ^ Rob Mackie (16 September 2005). "Downfall".  
  7. ^ Krysia Diver and Stephen Moss (25 March 2005). "Desperately seeking Adolf". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ John Rockwell (24 October 1993). "After Karajan In Berlin, No Deluge Yet". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  10. ^ "Spouse: Sabine Ganz (1965 - present) (separated) 1 child". Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  11. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1713. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  12. ^ """Prize Winner Bruno Ganz - Category "National Lifetime Achievement Award. HÖRZU. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  13. ^

External links

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