Maximilian Schell

Maximilian Schell ( born December 8, 1930 in Vienna, † February 1, 2014 in Innsbruck ) was an actor, director and producer with Austrian and Swiss nationality. He won the 1962 Oscar for best actor for his role in Judgment at Nuremberg.


Maximilian Schell was the son of Hermann Ferdinand Schell, a Swiss writer, and Margaret Noé Nordberg, a Viennese actress. He was the third of four children by Mary and Carl and Immy before. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi German Reich 1938 the family moved its residence from Vienna to Zurich.

Schell spent his youth more in Zurich and was artistically influenced by his parents. He studied at the University of Zurich philosophy, art history, music and theater studies in Basel and Munich. He was also football players at Grasshopper Club Zurich, of which he was an avowed supporters until his death. In 1952, he joined the performing subject, studied at the Conservatory in passing Bern (today: Hochschule der Künste Bern ) Piano and debuted in the fall of 1952 at the Basel Theatre as an actor, director and playwright. 1959 Schell changed according to different stations to the Munich Chamber games. In the same year of Gustaf brought him to Hamburg, where he returned to his farewell in 1963 for the now famous Hamlet staging.

End of the 1960s he played in London, by the way he translated works of John Osborne and William Shakespeare. In 1978 he took over the role of Everyman at the Salzburg Festival, which he represented until 1982 by Curd Jürgens. Schell also emerged as an opera director. In 2007 he surprised as operetta director, by successfully brought the operetta Wiener Blut by Johann Strauss on the floating stage in the Austrian Mörbisch.

Also in film and television, he reached great fame. So he turned his first film in 1955 children, mothers, and a general. In 1957 he stood for the first time in Hollywood in front of the camera. In addition to Marlon Brando, he was seen in The Young Lions. Judgment at Nuremberg made ​​his latest role of a defender of Nazi criminals in Stanley Kramer's film him an international star. He was awarded the 1962 Academy Award for Best Actor. Other films followed, including Topkapi (1964 ) with Peter Ustinov, The Odessa File (1974 ) and Deep Impact (1998).

End of the 1960s he began to act as a producer and director behind the camera. Already his debut First Love (1970 ) was a great success. It was followed by The Pedestrian (1974 ) and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Judge and His Hangman (1975). In his highly acclaimed documentary Marlene (1984 ), Marlene Dietrich, he is particularly present as a listener. Followed in 2003 with My Sister Maria, a biopic about his long been suffering from dementia sister Maria Schell.

Schell was the world as one of the most famous and successful actors German language. He also had been nominated more times for Best Actor and Supporting Actor, as well as for best foreign and best documentary Oscar. In 2002, he received a Bambi and his sister Mary for her life's work.

Caused a sensation in his three -year-long affair with Soraya, wife of the last Shah of Persia. In 1985, Schell studied with the filming of Peter the Great, the Russian actress Natalya Andreitschenko, whom he married in June 1986; 1989 their daughter Nastassja was born. Since 2002, separated from his wife and divorced since 2005, he had a temporary relationship with the Austrian art historian Elisabeth Michitsch. Since 2008, he was romantically involved with the 47-year younger German opera singer Iva Mihanovic, whom he married on 20 August 2013.

In addition to his work in theater, film and television devoted Maximilian Schell music, painting, and occasionally he also wrote. In addition, he served as narrator of the documentary series Terra X: Imperium. He lived alternately in Los Angeles and on his parents' Berghof in Preitenegg (Carinthia ). Maximilian Schell was one of the godfathers of the actress Angelina Jolie. This compound was created by Jolie's father Jon Voight, who took over in The Odessa File and 1975 in Schell Dürrenmatt adaptation The Judge and His Hangman leading roles in 1974.

Schell was a friend of the writer and later Czech president Václav Havel. As this through a travel ban the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade could not personally receive in the Frankfurt St. Paul's Church in 1989, Schell leaving there the representative written by Havel speech. In most of his films Schell dubbed themselves, in some Erik Schumann lent him his voice.

While television filming Schell collapsed in a Kitzbühel Hotel on 18 January 2014. In one district hospital with pneumonia was found, from which the 83 -year-old recovered well so that he could leave the hospital ten days later. On 30 January 2014 he was operated in the State Hospital Innsbruck because of back pain. From the anesthesia he never awoke and died in the night on Saturday, February 1, 2014 shortly after three clock. Numerous media published obituaries.

Maximilian Schell was buried in the cemetery of Preitenegg.

Filmography (selection)





  • Maximilian Schell: The Rebel. A story. C. Bertelsmann, Munich 1997, ISBN 978-3-570-12181-8.
  • Maximilian Schell: I fly through dark valleys or something is always missing. Memories. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-455-50178-0.