Schildkraut, Rudolph

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SCHILDKRAUT, RUDOLPH (1862–1930), German actor; a star of the European and American theater. Born in Istanbul, Schildkraut grew up in Romania, and studied in Vienna. He subsequently acted in Vienna, Hamburg, and Berlin and won acclaim on the German stage with his portrayal of Shylock, which remained one of his great roles. Another of his notable characterizations was Jankel Shabshowitz in Sholem *Asch's God of Vengeance (1918). For five years he played at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus and then at Max *Reinhardt's theater. Going for a few years to America in 1911, he appeared for a season in the Yiddish theater, after which he resumed playing in German and English. The Yiddish plays in which he starred ranged from Kreutzer Sonata, based on Tolstoy, to *Shomer's Eikele Mazik. Back in Germany, he performed in movies such as Der Shylock von Krakau (1913), Daemon und Mensch (1915), and Schlemihl (1915), in which he acted alongside his son, Joseph, in the latter's debut. After the family immigrated to America, he appeared in films such as His People (1925), The King of Kings (1927), A Ship Comes In (1928), and Christina (1929).

His son, joseph schildkraut (1896–1964), grew up in Vienna, spent three years (1910–13) at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York during a tour his family made in America, but made his stage debut in Berlin under Max Reinhardt, in 1913. Returning to the United States he acted in Liliom (1921–23) and Peer Gynt (1923) for Theater Guild, then went to Hollywood and into a film career. He starred in many pictures and for a time managed the Hollywood Playhouse. Among his many roles, he appeared as Alfred Dreyfus in the movie The Life of Emile Zola (1937), for which he received the 1938 Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor, and the heroine's father in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). Schildkraut was an actor of vivid personality and wide range. His autobiography, My Father and I, appeared in 1950.


New York Times (Jan. 23, 1964).

[Joseph Leftwich /

Noam Zadoff (2nd ed.)]