Maximilian Schell won his Academy Award for best actor for his role as Hans Rolfe in “Judgment at Nuremberg” in 1961. He died Saturday in Innsbruck, Austria at age 83. His agent said he had been hospitalized for a “sudden illness.” From the New York Times:
Stanley Kramer’s “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961), a courtroom drama recounting the Nazi war-crime trials in Germany in 1945-46, had an all-star cast, including Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland and Montgomery Clift. But Mr. Schell’s performance as the passionate, eloquent and ultimately furious German defense lawyer was the only one honored by the academy with an award. The film had begun as a television play, a 1959 episode of the anthology series “Playhouse 90,” in which Mr. Schell also starred.
He went on to earn two more Oscar nominations, for the title role in “The Man in the Glass Booth” (1975), a drama inspired by the trial in Israel of the Holocaust criminal Adolf Eichmann, and “Julia” (1977), based on a Lillian Hellman story about the underground in Nazi Germany.
In the late 1960s, Mr. Schell became a director, and two of his films — “The Pedestrian” (1973), about a German businessman’s wartime past, and “Marlene” (1984), a documentary about his “Nuremberg” co-star Marlene Dietrich — received Oscar nominations. A concert pianist in private life, he also went on to direct opera, including “Der Rosenkavalier” for the Los Angeles Opera in 2005.
Mr. Schell acknowledged that his career had perhaps been dominated by Nazi-era subjects and characters, and that he had been typecast in terms of acting roles. He was also an SS captain in “The Odessa File” (1974); a Nazi officer in two 1977 films, “A Bridge Too Far” and “Cross of Iron”; and a Nazi captain, alongside Marlon Brando, in “The Young Lions” (1958), his American film debut.
His IMDb list.