2 February 2014 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Actor and director who brought dark good looks and a commanding presence to his roles

Austrian by birth, Swiss by circumstance and international by reputation, Maximilian Schell, who has died aged 83, was a distinguished actor, director, writer and producer. However, he will be best remembered as an actor, especially for his Oscar-winning performance in Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) – an early highlight among scores of television and movie appearances. He also directed opera, worked tirelessly in the theatre and made six feature films, including Marlene (1984) - a tantalising portrait of Dietrich, his co-star in Judgment, who is heard being interviewed but not seen, except in movie extracts.

Schell courted controversy and much of his work, including The Pedestrian (1973), dealt with the second world war, its attendant crimes and the notion of collective guilt. In 1990, when he was offered a special award for his contributions to German film, he refused to accept it. »

- Brian Baxter

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