Maximillian Schell, who portrayed Dr. Hans Reinhardt in Disney’s science fiction adventure film, the Black Hole, has passed away at the age of 83.
Born in Vienna, Austria in 1930, his family left for Zurich, Switzerland before the outbreak of World War II.
Mr. Schell focused on acting at a young age, learning his craft on stage and through Shakespeare productions which lead him to German television and film roles.
His break came in The Young Lions in 1959 alongside Marlon Brando when communications to hire his sister, Maria Schell were mixed up. His audition for the role of Marlon Brandon’s German friend in the film impressed the production company and he was hired on the spot.
In 1961, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in Judgement At Nurenberg as well as a Golden Globe for a role he originally played on Playhouse 90. The only other actor to hold that distinguished position is Cliff Robertson for Charly which was broadcast for American television as Flowers For Algernon.
He became the most successful German speaking actor in English films since Emil Jannings.
Other noted roles included Krakatoa: East of Java and Sam Peckinpah’s Cross of Iron with James Coburn and James Mason.
An accomplished director as well, his documentaries included My Sister Maria and the fascinating Marlene, which garnered him a nomination for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards.
He was once quoted that when he was asked by journalists in Vienna what he liked about working in North America, he replied, “Freedom.” The journalists said they couldn’t print that and that they needed another reply to their question. Mr. Schell replied, “I rest my case.”
Maximillian Schell was a legendary actor who will be greatly missed.