Nationality: German. Born: Warthausen, 1942. Education: Studied theater at Heidelberg University. Career: 1960s—associated with the Frankfurt Theater am Turm: roles in comic and serious plays, especially those by Peter Handke; 1971—first of several films by Wim Wenders, Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter; 1995—in TV mini-series Der Clan der Anna Voss.
Films as Actor:
Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter (The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty; The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick) (Wenders) (as village idiot)
Der scharlachrote Buchstabe (The Scarlet Letter) (Wenders) (as the sailor); Die Grafin von Rathenow (Beauvais—for TV)
Alice in den Städten (Alice in the Cities) (Wenders) (as Phillip); Falsche Bewegung (Wrong Movement; The Wrong Move) (Wenders) (as Wilhelm Meister)
Im Lauf der Zeit (Kings of the Road) (Wenders) (as Bruno Winter)
Kreutzer (Emmerich) (as Andreas Kreutzer); Fleuchtweg nach Marseille (Engstrom); Die Linkshändige Frau (The Left-Handed Woman) (Handke) (as the actor)
Alzire oder der Neue Kontinent (Koerfer); L'Etat sauvage (The Savage State) (Girod) (as Tristan)
Letzte Liebe (Engstrom)
Henry Angst (Kratisch)
Beate und Mareile (Gies—for TV)
Die Bleiere Zeit (The German Sisters; Marianne and Juliane) (von Trotta) (as Wolfgang); Logik des Gefühls (Kratisch) (as George)
Heller Wahn (von Trotta); L'Hôpital de Leningrad (Maldoror); Melzer (Heinz Butler); Wanda (Noever)
Un caso d'incoscienza (Greco); Der Havarist (Buhler); Machinations (Gantillon—for TV); La Nuit de Carrefour (Bertin); Praxis der Liebe (Export)
Tarot (Thome) (as Otto)
Lucky Ravi (Lombard); Madrid (Patino) (as Hans); Das Treibhaus (Goedel) (as narrator)
Erdenschwer (Herbrich) (as Dr. Frank)
Il sole anche di notte (Night Sun) (Tavianis) (as King Charles)
Bis ans Ende der Welt (Until the End of the World) (Wenders) (as Phillip Winter); Anna Göldin: letzte Hexe (Anna Goldin, the Last Witch) (Pinkus) (as Dr. Tsuchidi); Transit (Allio) (as the doctor); Reiche Kunden killt man nicht (Gutke—for TV)
Tatort—Bienzle und der Biedermann (Peter Adam—for TV) (as Paul Stricker); Schöne Feindin (Keglevic—for TV) (as Dr. Egon Wirtz); Das Lange Gespräch mit dem Vogel (Zanussi—for TV) (as Dr. Halbritter)
Faraway, So Close! (In Weiter Ferne, So Nah!) (Wenders) (as Phillip Winter); Bommels Billigflüge (Rohne—for TV) (as Volker)
Het Verdriet Van Belgie (as Lausengier); Tod in Miami (Rola—for TV) (as Kai Vogt); Saubere Aktien (Mittermayr—for TV) (as Brehm); Hasenjagd—Vor lauter Feigheit gibt es kein Erbarmen (The Quality of Mercy; The Rabbit Hunt) (Gruber) (as Gendarm Birker); De sueur et du sang (Wonderboy) (Vecchiali)
Viagem a Lisboa (Lisbon Story) (Wenders) (as Phillip Winter)
Peanuts—Die Bank zahlt alles (Rola)
Die Schuld der Liebe (Gruber) (as Schweiger); Le Rouge et le noir (Verhaeghe—mini for TV) (as Abbé Pinard); Operation Phoenix—Jäger zwischen den Welten (Fratzscher—for TV) (as Retzbach); Un Prete tra noi (Capitani and Gasparini—series for TV) (as Pietro)
Le Plus beau pays du monde (Bluwal); Doppelter Einsatz: Die Todfreundin (Zahavi—for TV) (as Dr. Benziger); Tigerstreifenbaby wartet auf Tarzan (Tigerstripe Baby is Waiting for Tarzan) (Thome) (as Franz); Une minute de silence (Florent Emilio Siri)
Götterdämmerung—Morgen stirbt Berlin (Bombs Under Berlin) (Coppoletta—for TV) (as Kommisar Lobenstein); Die Zauberfrau (Hofmann) (as Ernstbert Schatz); Die Braut (Günther) (as Hans-Heinrich Meyer); The Taste of Sunshine (Sunshine) (Szabó); Rendezvous mit dem Teufel (Berger—for TV) (as Henry Scholl); Une pour toutes, toutes pour une (Lelouch) (as Le chef d'orchestre)
Anatomie (Ruzowitzky) (as Dr. Henning)
By VOGLER: articles—
Interview, in Cinéma (Paris), December 1976.
Interview, in Cinématographe (Paris), February 1981.
Interview, in Télérama (Paris), 7 June 1995.
Interview, in Revue du Cinéma, September 1996.
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Although Rüdiger Vogler is associated ineradicably with Wim Wenders for his starring roles in Alice in the Cities, Kings of the Road, and the relatively neglected Wrong Movement (not forgetting his smaller parts in The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty and The Scarlet Letter, and roles in Wenders's 1990s films, Until the End of the World, Faraway, So Close!, and Lisbon Story), his earliest associations were in fact with Peter Handke. After studying drama at Heidelberg University Vogler worked at Frankfurt's Theater am Turm from 1966, where he appeared in all of Handke's plays, including the epochal 1968 production Publikumsbeschimpfung. He also appeared in Handke's television film Die Chronik der Laufenden Ereignisse and, much later, in the writer's debut as a feature director, The Left Handed Woman.
In one of his few published interviews Vogler once said that "just as a film is something of an image of a reality, so an actor is also the image of a real man," and in many respects it is extremely tempting to regard his Wenders films not simply as at-one-remove portraits of their director but, moreover, as documentaries about the actor himself. Certainly it is very difficult to make the usual distinction between actor and character, and the continuities from film to film—the tenderness, the poignancy, the fear of "normal" settled-down life, the need for movement along with a certain unfulfilled desire for some kind of stability—give his three main films for Wenders the quality of a trilogy, a quality that stems as much from Vogler's remarkable presence as Wenders's writing and direction.
Vogler's importance, however, goes beyond his roles in early Wenders, and his gentle, troubled persona has become a key ingredient in what Thomas Elsaesser has aptly referred to as the "collective associations and cross-references" that distinguish the New German Cinema. As he puts it, "what gave the use of actors in the German cinema the dimension of a star system was their appearance in the films of different directors, which complemented their roles in the different films by the same director. One might, for instance, construct for the New German Cinema a recognizable identity and an existence as a national cinema entirely on the basis of the different roles and personae that less than a dozen actors and actresses embodied in 40 or 50 films," actors who "helped establish an intertextuality sufficiently stable to give the impression of a coherent fictional universe, although sufficiently variable to inhibit type-casting." Fassbinder springs immediately to mind here, as does Herzog's use of Klaus Kinski and Bruno S., along, of course, with Wenders/Vogler.
Thus when Vogler crops up in von Trotta's The German Sisters he brings to the role all sorts of associations that would not be present were the character being played by a different actor; indeed, as Elsaesser notes, he plays a role "which is not so much that of a character within the fiction as that of a Wenders persona in a von Trotta film, and thus answering for the spectator the question of what Wenders' attitude might be to left-wing politics, terrorism and the women's movement." Directors who have exploited the introspective side of his "Wenders" persona include Ingemo Engstrom (Letzte Liebe) and Ingo Kratisch (Logik des Gefühls) while the restless, rootless aspect (Alice, Kings) is more to the fore in Handke's The Left-Handed Woman and Klaus Emmerich's Kreutzer.