Brandauer, Klaus Maria 1944–

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Brandauer, Klaus Maria 1944–


Original name, Klaus Maria Steng; born June 22, 1944, in Alt Aussee (some sources cite Bad Aussee), Austria; son of Georg (a civil servant) and Maria (maiden name, Brandauer) Steng (some sources spell the surname "Stenj"); married Karin Mueller (a film and television director and screenwriter), 1963 (died November 13, 1992); children: Christian (a composer). Education: Attended Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Stuttgart, West Germany, 1963.

Career: Actor, director, and writer. Wiener Burgtheatre, Vienna, Austria, actor, director, and life member, 1972–; Salzburger Festspiele, actor, beginning 1975; also appeared with Landesburg Theatre, Tuebingen, West Germany. Internationale Filmfestpiele Berlin, president of jury, 1987. Max Reinhardt Seminary, Vienna, professor.

Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors: Cannes Film Festival Award, best actor, 1981, David di Donatello Award, best foreign actor, 1982, and Jussi Award, best foreign filmmaker, 1982, all for Mephisto; Film Award in Gold, outstanding individual achievement as an actor, German Film Awards, 1985, and Guild Film Award in Gold, outstanding German film, Guild of German Art House Cinemas, 1986, both for Oberst Redl; National Board of Review Award, 1985, New York Film Critics Circle Award, 1985, Academy Award nomination, 1986, Kansas City Film Critics Association Award, 1986, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1987, all best supporting actor, and Golden Globe Award, best supporting actor in a motion picture, 1986, all for Out of Africa; Motion Picture Bookers Award, star of the year, 1986; Berlinale Camera, Berlin International Film Festival, 1987; Bavarian Film Award, best actor, 1989, for Burning Secret; Film Award in Gold, outstanding individual achievement as an actor, and Fantafestival Award, best actor, 1990, and Guild Film Award in silver, outstanding German film, 1991, all for Georg Elser—Einer aus Deutschland; Golden Camera Award, outstanding actor, 1991, for Hanussen; Guild Film Award in Silver, outstanding German film, Andrei Tarkovsky Award and nomination for Golden St. George, both Moscow International Film Festival, all 1995, for Mario und der Zauberer; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best supporting actor in a television series, miniseries, or movie, both 2000, for Introducing Dorothy Dan-drige; Actor's Mission Award, Art Film Festival, 2003; Bambi Award, culture category, 2003; honorary doctorate, University of Tel Aviv.


Film Appearances:

(Film debut) Johann Kronsteiner, The Salzburg Connection (also known as Top Secret), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1972.

Hoffmann, Oktoberi vasarnap (also known as A Sunday in October and Ein Sonntag im Oktober), 1979.

Hendrik Hoefgen, Mephisto, Analysis Films, 1982.

Maximilian Largo, Never Say Never Again (also known as James Bond 007—Sag niemals nie), Warner Bros., 1983.

German officer, Detsky sad (also known as Kindergarten and Detskij Sad), 1983, International Film Exchange, 1986.

Captain Miller, The Lightship (also known as Killers at Sea), Castle Hill, 1985.

Colonel Alfred Redl, Oberst Redl (also known as Colonel Redl and Redl ezredes), Orion Classics, 1985.

Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke/Baron Hans Blixen-Finecke, Out of Africa, Universal, 1985.

Alek Neuman, Streets of Gold, Universal, 1987.

Klaus Schneider/Erik Jan Hanussen, Hanussen (also known as Profeta), 1987.

Baron Alexander von Hauenstein, Burning Secret (also known as Brennendes Geheimnis), 1988.

Benjamin Lenz, Das Spinnennetz (also known as Spider's Web), 1989.

Elser, Georg Elser—Einer aus Deutschland (also known as Georg Elser and Seven Minutes), 1989.

Georges-Jacques Danton, La Revolution francaise (also known as The French Revolution and Die Franzoe-sische Revolution), 1989.

Dante, The Russia House, 1990.

Henri Gauthier-Villars, Becoming Colette (also known as Colette), 1991.

Alex Larson, White Fang, 1991.

Voices of Pascal and Claudandus, Felidae, 1994.

Cipolla, Mario und der Zauberer (also known as Mario and the Magician), 1994.

Rembrandt van Rijn (title role), Rembrandt, Pyramide, 1999.

Klaus Maria Brandauer: Speer in London, Pinter & Martin, 1999.

Orlov, Dykaren (also known as Baltic Sea, The Diver, and Salvation), Filmfabriken Baltic Sea, 2000.

Vladimir Lenin, Vera, nadezhda, krov' (also known as Belief, Hope and Blood), Goskino, 2000.

Julius Ceasar, Druids (also known as Vercingetorix and Vercingetorix, la legende du druide roi), Columbia TriStar Home Video, 2000.

Jan Jedermann, Jedermanns Fest (also known as Everyman's Feast), Star Production/Wega Film, 2002.

Alexander Bauer, Between Strangers (also known as Co-eurs inconnus and Cuori estranei), First Look Home Entertainment, 2002.

Poem—Ich setzte den Fuss in die Luft und sie trug (also known as Poem: I Set My Foot Upon the Air and It Carried Me), Ottfilm, 2003.

Voice of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer (documentary), First Run Features, 2003.

Film Director:

Georg Elser—Einer aus Deutschland (also known as Georg Elser and Seven Minutes), 1989.

Mario und der Zauberer (also known as Mario and the Magician), 1994.

Die Wand, 1999.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Petruccio, Der Widerspenstigen Zaehmung, 1971.

Was Ihr wollt, 1973.

Prinz Leonce, Leonce und Lena, 1975.

Das Konzert, 1975.

Kabale und Liebe, 1976.

Darf ich mitspielen?, 1976.

Die Babenberger in Oesterreich, 1976.

Die Braeute des Kurt Roidl, 1978.

Baron Georg von Wergenthin, Der Weg ins Freie, 1983.

Der Snob (also known as The Snob), 1984.

King Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah (also known as Die Bibel: Jeremia and Geremia il profeta), PAX, 1998.

Speer, 1998.

Otto Preminger, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, HBO, 1999.

Perlasca, un eroe italiano, 2002.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Title role, Jean-Christophe, 1978.

Emperor Nero, Quo Vadis?, 1985.

(In archive footage) Das Jahrhundert des Theaters, 2002.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The 54th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1982.

The 58th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1986.

Himself, Das Wiener Burgtheater, 2004.

Himself, Welcome Europe!, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Erich Forster, "Pfandhaus," Derrick, 1975.

Werner Feldmeister, "Der Stumme," Sonderdezernet K1, 1977.

Guest, NDR Talk Show (also known as NDR Talk Show Classics), 1985.

Guest, "Wetten, dass …? aus Bremerhaven," Wetten, dass …?, 1988.

Guest, "Wetten, dass …? aus Basel," Wetten, dass …?, 1994.

Guest, Die Johannes B. Kerner Show (also known as JBK), 2005.

Television Appearances; Other:

Title role, Oscar Wilde, 1972.

Wienerinnen, 1973.

Max, Frag nach bei Casanova, 1975.

Die Verschwoerung des Fiesco zu Genua, 1975.

La quinta donna, 1980.

Moritz Jaeger, Die Seber, 1980.

Europa und der zweite Apfel, 1988.

Recitant, Grand Finale, 1999.

Title role, Cyrano de Bergerac, 2000.

Gregor Laemmle, Entrusted (also known as Daddy), 2003.

Bassa Selim, Entfuehrung aus dem Serail, 2003.

Emperor Franz-Joseph, Kronprinz Rudolf, 2006.

Television Director; Movies:

Speer, 1998.

Stage Appearances:

Made stage debut in a production of The Madwoman of Chaillot; appeared in title role, Hamlet, Burgtheatre, Vienna, Austria, then Salzburg, Austria; and in title role, Jedermann, Burgtheatre, Salzburg Festival, Salzburg; appeared as Romeo, Romeo and Juliet, as Petrucchio, The Taming of the Shrew, and in Don Carlos and Tartuffe, all Burgtheatre, Vienna.



(Uncredited) Behind Poem, Trigger Happy Productions, 2004.


Schoenberg: Gurrelieder, Metropolitan Opera Guild, 1996.



Mario und der Zauberer (also known as Mario and the Magician), 1994.


Bleiben tu'ich mir nicht (autobiography), 1991.



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.


Observer, February 28, 1999, p. 25.

Brandauer, Klaus Maria

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BRANDAUER, Klaus Maria

Nationality: Austrian. Born: Altaussee, Austria, 22 June 1944. Education: Studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, graduated 1963. Family: Married Karen Mueller, son: Christian. Career: From 1970—actor and director with the Burgtheater (the National Theater of Austria), Vienna; 1972—film debut in The Salzburg Connection; unhappy with film, returned to stage work; 1981—international success with Mephisto; 1989—debut as film director with The Artisan. Awards: Deutscher Filmpreis, for Colonel Redl, 1985; Golden Globe, D. W. Griffith Award, and New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor, for Out of Africa, 1985; Golden Ciak Award, Venice Festival, for Burning Secret, 1988. Address: Bartensteingasse 8/9, A-1010 Vienna, Austria.

Films as Actor:


The Salzburg Connection (Katzin) (as Johann Kronsteiner)


Der Widerspenstigen Zaehmung (Schenk—for TV) (as Petruccio)


Das Konzert (Haugk—for TV)


Die Babenberger in Oesterreich (Umgelter—for TV); Darf ich mitspielen? (Davy—for TV)


Mephisto (Szabó) (as Hendrik Höfgen)


Never Say Never Again (Kershner) (as Maximilian Largo); Der Weg ins Freie (Karen Brandauer—for TV)


Kindergarten (Yevtushenko); Der Snob (Staudte—for TV)


Redl Ezredes (Oberst Redl; Colonel Redl) (Szabó) (as Alfred Redl); Out of Africa (Pollack) (as Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke); Quo Vadis (Rossi—for TV) (as Nero)


Streets of Gold (Roth) (as Alek Neuman); The Lightship (Skolimowski) (as Capt. Miller)


Burning Secret (Birkin) (as Baron)


Hanussen (Szabó) (title role); Das Spinnennetz (Spider's Web) (as Lenz); La Revolution Française (The French Revolution) (Enrico and Heffron) (as Georges Jacques Danton)


The Russia House (Schepisi) (as Savelev, "Dante")


White Fang (Kleiser) (as Alex)


Becoming Colette (Colette) (Danny Huston) (as Henri Gauthier-Villars)


Felidae (Schaack—animation) (as voices of Pascal and Claudandus)


Jeremiah (Winer —for TV) (as King Nebuchadnezzar)


Rembrandt (Matton) (as Rembrandt); Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (Coolidge) (as Otto Preminger)

Films as Director:




The Artisan


Georg Elser—Einer aus Deutschland (Georg Elser; Seven Minutes) (+ title role)


Mario und der Zauberer (Mario and the Magician) (as Cipolla) (+ ro as Cipolla, sc)


Die Wand


By BRANDAUER: articles—

"Out of Austria," interview with Karen Jaehne, in Stills (London), March 1986.

Interview in Interview (New York), June 1986.

Interview in Hollywood Reporter, 30 December 1986.

Interview with Lynne Tillman, in Interview (New York), February 1991.


Lanz, Peter, Klaus Maria Brandauer: Ein Portrait des berühmten Schauspielerin, Munich, 1986.

On BRANDAUER: articles—

Cinema (Germany), July 1987.

Current Biography 1990, New York, 1990.

Kurdriavtsev, S., in Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), no. 11, 1990.

* * *

Klaus Maria Brandauer is an actor who actually has two very different and distinct careers. One is as a star in his native Europe. The other came out of his emergence during the mid-1980s as a supporting player in American films. Brandauer generally has received his greatest acclaim as an actor in Europe. The three films that are central to this aspect of his career are Mephisto, which won a Best Foreign Film Academy Award in 1981; Colonel Redl, released in 1985; and Hanussen, which came out in 1989. All are directed by Istvan Szabó, and are set in Europe before or during World War I or leading to the rise of Hitler. In each, Brandauer creates a character who, though not necessarily sympathetic to the existing power structure or "new order," compromises himself as he resigns himself to the reality of the time. Thus, a crisis of conscience is created, with each characterization becoming a skillful study in turmoil hidden beneath bravado and supreme egotism. The Brandauer characters in these films are an egocentric actor who sells out to the Nazis upon Hitler's coming to power (in Mephisto); a determined career soldier of modest background who achieves a lofty position in the Austro-Hungarian military prior to World War I (in Colonel Redl); and an Austrian soldier in World War I who is wounded in battle, and who attains the ability to foresee the future (in Hanussen).

His American films include The Lightship, in which he is an ex-German naval officer who captains the title craft; Never Say Never Again, in which he plays a diabolical West German terrorist; The Russia House, portraying a mysterious, charismatic Russian physicist; and Streets of Gold, as a champion Russian fighter who coaches two young Americans for the Olympics. As in his films with Szabó, these characters feel obligated to an inflexible code. Thus, the commander of the lightship is bound by his responsibility to his ship, even after it is boarded by ruthless gangsters, while the obsessive boxing coach in Streets of Gold lives rigidly by the notion that all must be sacrificed to the will-to-win.

For the most part, Brandauer's roles in American films have been supporting ones. The sole exception is Streets of Gold, which did not succeed either critically or commercially in making him a force in the American cinema. Supporting roles have, however, by his own admission, allowed him the freedom to create deeper, psychologically motivated character studies. The prime example of this is his Academy Award-nominated role as Meryl Streep's unfaithful husband in Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa—easily his highest-profile English-language performance to date. It is characters such as this one—subtle, idiosyncratic, seemingly unequivocal in their motivations—which are the real hallmarks of Brandauer's career.

—Rob Winning, updated by Rob Edelman

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