Maximilian Schell

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Maximilian Schell, 2011

Maximilian Schell (born December 8, 1930 in Vienna , † February 1, 2014 in Innsbruck ) was an actor , director and producer with Austrian and Swiss citizenship. He won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1962 for his role in The Judgment of Nuremberg . Schell was one of the best-known and most prominent German-speaking actors and worked in international film productions for around five decades.


Maximilian Schell was the son of Hermann Ferdinand Schell , a Swiss writer, and Margarethe Noé von Nordberg , a Viennese actress. He was the third of four children after Maria and Carl and before Immy . After Austria was annexed to the National Socialist German Reich in 1938, the family moved from Vienna to Zurich .

Schell spent his further youth in Zurich and was artistically influenced by his parents. He studied philosophy , art history and music and theater studies at Zurich University , also in Basel and Munich . He was also a soccer player at the Grasshopper Club Zurich , of which he was an avowed supporter until his death. In 1952 he switched to performing, studying piano at the Bern Conservatory (today: Bern University of the Arts ) and made his debut at the Basel Theater in autumn 1952 as an actor, director and dramaturge . In 1959 Schell moved to the Münchner Kammerspiele after various positions . In the same year Gustaf Gründgens brought him to Hamburg, where he returned in 1963 when he left for the famous Hamlet production.

In the late 1960s he played in London , while also translating works by John Osborne and William Shakespeare . In 1978 he took over the role of Jedermann from Curd Jürgens at the Salzburg Festival , which he played until 1982. Schell also emerged as an opera director. In 2007 he surprised everyone as an operetta director when he successfully brought the Johann Strauss operetta Wiener Blut to the lake stage in Mörbisch , Austria .

He also achieved great fame in film and television. In 1955 he made his first film Children, Mothers and a General . In 1957 he stood in front of the camera for the first time in Hollywood . He starred alongside Marlon Brando in The Young Lions . At the latest, his role as a defender of Nazi criminals in Stanley Kramer's film The Judgment of Nuremberg made him an international star. In 1962 he received an Oscar for best leading actor . Other films followed, including Topkapi (1964) with Peter Ustinov , The Odessa Files (1974) and Deep Impact (1998).

Maximilian Schell, 1976

From the end of the 1960s he also worked behind the camera, as a producer and director. His debut First Love (1970) was a great success. This was followed by Der Pedestrian (1974) and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Der Richter und seine Henker (1975). He is particularly present as a listener in his widely acclaimed documentary Marlene (1984) about Marlene Dietrich . In 2003, My Sister Maria was a film biography about his sister Maria Schell, who had been suffering from dementia for a long time .

Maximilian Schell was one of the most famous and successful German language actors worldwide. He also received other Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Supporting Actor as well as for Best Foreign and Best Documentary. In 2002 he and his sister Maria were awarded a Bambi for their life's work.

Maximilian Schell, 2006

His three-year liaison with Soraya , the former wife of the last Shah of Persia, caused a sensation in the 1960s . In 1985, while filming Peter the Great , Schell met the Russian actress Natalja Eduardowna Andreitschenko , whom he married in June 1986; In 1989 their daughter Nastassja was born. Separated from his wife since 2002 and divorced since 2005, he had a temporary liaison with the Austrian art historian Elisabeth Michitsch . Since 2008 he was in a relationship with the 47 years younger German opera singer Iva Mihanovic , whom he married on August 20, 2013.

In addition to his activities in theater, film and television, Maximilian Schell devoted himself to music, painting, and occasionally he also wrote. In addition, he led the documentary series Terra X: Imperium as a narrator . He lived alternately in Los Angeles and on his parents' Berghof in Preitenegg in Carinthia . Schell was one of the godparents of actress Angelina Jolie . This connection came about through Jolie's father Jon Voight , who starred in The Odessa Files in 1974 and in his 1975 Dürrenmatt film The Judge and His Executioner .

Schell was friends with the writer and later Czech President Václav Havel . When he was unable to accept the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in person in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt in 1989 due to a travel ban, Schell read the speech written by Havel on his behalf. Schell dubbed himself in most of his films, and Erik Schumann lent him his voice in some .

Schell collapsed while filming on TV on January 18, 2014 in a Kitzbühel hotel. Pneumonia was diagnosed in a district hospital, from which the 83-year-old recovered well and was able to leave the hospital ten days later. But on January 30th, he was operated on in the Innsbruck regional hospital for back pain. He did not wake up from the anesthetic. He died on the night of Saturday, February 1, 2014, shortly after three o'clock.

In addition to the family, Waltraud Haas , Christian Wolff , Karl Spiehs , Lawrence David Foldes, Elisabeth Wicki-Endriss and Peter Kaiser also took part in the funeral service . Maximilian Schell's grave is located in the Preitenegg community cemetery , where his sister Maria Schell was also buried. The urn containing the remains was buried in a boulder on the Schells estate.

Filmography (selection)





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


Web links

Commons : Maximilian Schell  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Actor Maximilian Schell is dead , from February 1, 2014
  2. Fritz Göttler: The boy with the strand - big little brother: The actor Maximilian Schell turns eighty. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung of December 8, 2010
  3. Maximilian Schell left his wife , Vorarlberg Online ( on May 21, 2002, accessed on February 2, 2014
  4. Maximilian Schell loves this woman from November 28, 2009
  5. Maximilian Schell: Wedding in the Alps Gala on August 21, 2013, accessed on August 23, 2013
  6. Schell released from hospital Tirol-Nachrichten on from January 28, 2014
  7. Maximilian Schell: Der Weltstar von der Alm , Kurier Online from February 1, 2014
  8. ^ Stuttgarter Zeitung, Stuttgart Germany: Funeral service: Maximilian Schell buried in Preitenegg. Retrieved December 29, 2018 .
  9. ^ Abendzeitung Germany: Funeral procession in Carinthia: Maximilian Schell - Farewell to Infinity - Abendzeitung Munich. Retrieved December 29, 2018 .
  10. ^ The grave of Maximilian Schell
  11. Festival opens with the film Die Räuber ( Memento of the original from February 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. max-ophuels-preis-de, accessed on January 16, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. Maximilian Schell honored in a worthy setting , of July 17, 2009, accessed on July 20, 2009