Otto Preminger

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Otto Preminger (1976)

Otto Ludwig Preminger (born December 5, 1905 in Wiznitz , Bukowina , Austria-Hungary ; † April 23, 1986 in New York City , United States ) was an Austrian - American film director , film producer , actor , theater director and theater director .


Otto Preminger was born the son of the assimilated Jews Markus and Josefa Preminger. The father worked as a public prosecutor . During the First World War , Markus Preminger and his family moved to Graz to avoid an invasion by the tsarist army and a life under Russian occupation. He finally got to Vienna via Graz. Preminger studied at the University of Vienna Law and graduated in 1928 with a doctorate. In addition to his studies, he devoted himself to acting, appeared in small roles under Max Reinhardt at the Theater in der Josefstadt and was his assistant in Salzburg . He played larger roles at the Deutsches Theater in Prague, among others . In 1925 he directed in Aussig an der Elbe for the first time. In 1929 he and Jakob Feldhammer took over the management of the Volksoper as the "Neues Wiener Schauspielhaus" (until July 15, 1931). In 1931 he returned to the Theater in der Josefstadt as a director and was director there from 1933 to 1935.

In 1931 Preminger made his first film, The Great Love , which made him famous after his successful theater productions in Hollywood and New York. In October 1935 he went to the USA, where he shot numerous movies and also worked as an actor in several films. However, he also remained loyal to the theater, until the 1960s he worked as a theater director in New York. Preminger was one of the most versatile directors in Hollywood; he made comedies, crime films, westerns and literary adaptations. When he arbitrarily changed the script for the filming of Robert Louis Stevensons Kidnapped , he was fired. He did not return to Hollywood until 1942. In 1944 Preminger's thriller Laura caused a sensation. Although this masterpiece of film noir met with rejection in the studio, the film was very well received by the public and the press.

In 1953 Preminger founded his own production company and thus no longer had to take Hollywood's self-censorship into account. In 1955 he took up a taboo subject when he shot The Man with the Golden Arm , the portrait of a drug addict in the slums of Chicago . Not least, his film Anatomy of a Murder (1959) contributed to the fact that the internal censorship was circumvented more and more often and finally abandoned. Preminger also made the first film with all black actors: Carmen Jones (1954) based on Georges Bizet's opera Carmen . But Preminger was not only known for "shocking" topics. His subtle and precise leadership of the actors earned him great recognition. A central work in Preminger's oeuvre is the film Bonjour Tristesse (1958) based on the novel of the same name by Françoise Sagan . It was celebrated with anthemic reviews and was a role model for the later directors of the French Nouvelle Vague .

In 1977 Preminger published his autobiography . From 1983 onwards, suffering from Alzheimer's and cancer , he lived in seclusion in Hollywood. His son Erik Lee Preminger also works as a director and film producer, his brother was the acting agent and film producer Ingo Preminger .

Otto Preminger died in 1986 at the age of 80. His final resting place is in Woodlawn Cemetery in the New York borough of Bronx .

Filmography (selection)


Republic of Austria:

  • 4th December 1935: Knight's Cross of the Austrian Order of Merit

Locarno International Film Festival

Hollywood Walk of Fame

  • Star on the Walk of Fame: 6624 Hollywood Blvd.

In 2008 Otto-Preminger-Straße in Vienna- Landstraße (3rd district) was named after him.



Web links

Commons : Otto Preminger  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The grave of Otto Preminger
  2. cf. Decoration office number 17.226 / 2144 from 1935