Germans who made it to Hollywood ...

by md119 | created - 15 Jan 2012 | updated - 20 May 2012 | Public

1. Emil Jannings

Actor | The Last Command

His real name was Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz, and in the early 1900s, he was already working in the theater under Max Reinhardt's company. Important movies where he defined himself as a convincing actor were Madame DuBarry (1919) and Quo Vadis? (1924), followed by The Last Laugh (1924)(aka The ...

First Oscar winner as Best Actor. Most notable role: The Last Command

2. Marlene Dietrich

Soundtrack | Witness for the Prosecution

Her father was a police lieutenant and imbued in her a military attitude to life. Marlene was known in school for her "bedroom eyes" and her first affairs were at this stage in her life - a professor at the school was terminated. She entered the cabaret scene in 1920s Germany, first as a spectator ...

Most notable role: Witness for the Prosecution

3. Hardy Krüger

Actor | Hatari!

At thirteen years, German-born and raised Hardy Kruger became a member of the "Hitler Jugend" (Hitler Youth), as did all 13-year-old boys in Germany then. The purpose of the organization was to prepare the boys for military service. At age 15, Hardy made his film debut in a German picture (Young ...

Most notable role: Flight of the Phoenix

4. Klaus Kinski

Actor | Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

Klaus Kinski was born as Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland), to Susanne (Lutze), a nurse, and Bruno Nakszynski, a pharmacist. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and captured by British forces in Holland. After the war he began...

Most notable role: Doctor Zhivago

5. Gert Fröbe

Actor | Goldfinger

Tall, portly built German born actor (and talented violinist) who notched up over 100 film appearances, predominantly in German-language productions. He will forever be remembered by Western audiences as the bombastic megalomaniac "Auric Goldfinger" trying to kill Sean Connery and irradiate the ...

Most notable role: Goldfinger

6. Thomas Kretschmann

Actor | King Kong

Thomas Kretschmann was born in East Germany. Before becoming an actor, he was a swimmer. He has acted in several popular American movies, such as Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), The Pianist (2002), U-571 (2000), In Enemy Hands (2004), etc. He has three children, Nicolas, Stella and Sascha with ...

Most notable role: King Kong

7. Horst Buchholz

Actor | La vita è bella

On the cast list of The Magnificent Seven (1960), you will find several names that doubtless you know well: Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, and Yul Brynner. But there is one name that you will have difficulty pronouncing, let alone identifying as an actor you have seen before. That man is Horst ...

Most notable role: The magnificent seven

8. Roland Emmerich

Writer | Independence Day

Roland Emmerich is a German film director and producer of blockbuster films like The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Godzilla (1998), Independence Day (1996) and The Patriot (2000). Before fame, he originally wanted to be a production designer, but decided to be a director, after watching the original ...

Most notable film: Independence Day

9. Wolfgang Petersen

Director | Das Boot

This director seems to shine most when making movies that can best be described as part action movies/part disaster movies.

Beginning with Outbreak (1995) about the outbreak of a killer virus. This film had shades of an Irwin Allen disaster movie, The Swarm (1978), about the outbreak of killer bees....

Most notable film: Outbreak

10. Hans Zimmer

Composer | Gladiator

German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to ...

Most notable soundtrack: The Lion King

11. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Director | Das Leben der Anderen

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was born on May 2, 1973 in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany as Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck. He is a director and writer, known for The Lives of Others (2006), The Tourist (2010) and Never Look Away (2018). He is married to ...

Most notable film: The Tourist

12. Franka Potente

Actress | Lola rennt

Franka Potente was born on 22 July 1974 in the German city of Münster, to Hildegard, a medical assistant, and Dieter Potente, a teacher, and raised in the nearby town of Dülmen. After her graduation in 1994, she went to the Otto-Falckenberg-Schule, a drama school in Munich, but soon broke off to ...

Most notable role: The Bourne Identity

13. Diane Kruger

Actress | Inglourious Basterds

Diane Kruger was born Diane Heidkrüger in Algermissen, near Hildesheim, Germany, to Maria-Theresa, a bank employee, and Hans-Heinrich Heidkrüger, a computer specialist. She studied ballet with the Royal Ballet in London before an injury ended her career. She returned to Germany and became a top ...

Most notable role: Troy

14. Curd Jürgens

Actor | The Spy Who Loved Me

Curd Jürgens (commonly billed as "Curt Jurgens" in anglophone countries) was one of the most successful European film actors of the 20th Century. He was born Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens on December 13, 1915, in Solln, Bavaria, in Hohenzollern Imperial Germany, a subject of Kaiser ...

Most notable role: The Spy who loved me

15. Conrad Veidt

Actor | Casablanca

Conrad Veidt attended the Sophiengymnasium (secondary school) in the Schoeneberg district of Berlin, and graduated without a diploma in 1912, last in his class of 13. Conrad liked animals, theater, cinema, fast cars, pastries, thunderstorms, gardening, swimming and golfing. He disliked heights, ...

Most notable role: Casablanca

16. Ralf Moeller

Actor | Gladiator

Ralf Rudolf Moeller (born on 12. January 1959) is a German-American actor and former Mr. Universe. He is well-known for his roles as Brick Bardo in Cyborg, Kjartan in The Viking Sagas, as hero in the TV series "Conan the Adventurer", Hagen in Gladiator, Thorak in The Scorpion King and Ulfar in ...

Most notable role: Gladiator

17. Nastassja Kinski

Actress | Tess

Nastassja Kinski was born Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski on January 24, 1961 in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of German actor Klaus Kinski. In 1976, she met director Roman Polanski, who urged her to study method acting with Lee Strasberg in the United States. Kinski starred in the Italian romantic ...

Most notable role: Tess

18. Christoph Waltz

Actor | Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz is an Austrian-German actor. He is known for his works with American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, receiving acclaim for portraying SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained (2012). For each performance, he ...

Most notable role: Inglorious Basterds (ok, he is Austrian but he also holds a German passport)

19. Uwe Boll

Producer | Postal

As a child, he produced a number of short films on Super 8 and video before beginning his studies as a film director in Munich and Vienna. He also studied literature and economics in Cologne and Siegen. Uwe graduated from university in 1995 with a doctorate in literature. From 1995-2000, he was a ...

Most notable film: In the name of the king

20. Udo Kier

Actor | The Painted Bird

Udo Kier was born October 14, 1944 in Cologne, Germany, during World War II. His entrance was just as dramatic as some of his roles. On the evening of his birth Udo's mother requested extra time with her new baby. The nurses had gathered all of the other babies and returned them to the nursery when...

Most notable role: My own private Idaho

21. Dieter Laser

Actor | November

Dieter Laser is a German actor. He is known to English-speaking audiences for his roles: Mantrid in Lexx, Prof. Otto Blaettchen in The Ogre and Dr. Joseph Heiter in The Human Centipede (First Sequence), for which he won Best Actor at the Austin Fantastic Fest. In 1975, he was awarded the German ...

Most notable role: The Human Centipede

22. Armin Mueller-Stahl

Actor | Eastern Promises

Armin Mueller-Stahl was born on December 17, 1930 in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany. He is an actor and director, known for Eastern Promises (2007), Shine (1996) and The International (2009). He has been married to Gabriele Scholz since 1973. They have one child. He was previously married to Monika ...

Most notable role: Music Box

23. August Diehl

Actor | Inglourious Basterds

August Diehl was born on January 4, 1976 in Berlin, Germany. He is an actor and writer, known for Inglourious Basterds (2009), Salt (2010) and Love in Thoughts (2004). He has been married to Julia Malik since 1999. They have two children.

Most notable role: Salt

24. Daniel Brühl

Actor | Good Bye Lenin!

Daniel Brühl was born in Barcelona, Spain. His father was German TV director Hanno Brühl (1937-2010), who was born in São Paulo, Brazil. His Spanish mother was a teacher. He also has a brother and a sister, Oliver and Miriam. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Cologne, Germany, where he ...

Most notable role: Inglorious Basterds

25. Michael Fassbender

Actor | Shame

Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father, Josef, and an Irish mother, Adele (originally from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland). Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south-west Ireland, where his family moved to when he was two years old. ...

Most notable role: Shame



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