Published: Mon, February 18, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Bruno Ganz, who famously played Hitler in Downfall, dies at 77

Bruno Ganz, who famously played Hitler in Downfall, dies at 77

However, in a 2005 interview with The Guardian, he said he spent four months preparing for the part but highlighted that he could "never begin to understand Hitler".

A titan of the European film and theater scene, Ganz was distinguished by his low, raspy voice and on-screen ability to shift between solemn dignity and volcanic rage in the blink of an eye.

The actor was diagnosed with colon cancer past year and died at his home in Zurich on Friday night, his management confirmed.

His celestial performance was so memorable that Ganz once recounted how people ascribed special powers to him when they recognized him in public.

On screen, he received numerous awards throughout Europe from organizations like the German Film Awards, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Munich Film Festival, Bavarian Film Awards, and Swiss Film Prize.

But Ganz added that he had not gained real insight into Hitler's motivation, saying: "I can not claim to understand Hitler". Even the witnesses who had been in the bunker with him were not really able to describe the essence of the man.

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In the early days of his career, Ganz worked as a bookseller and a paramedic before he broke into films with roles in The Marquise of O, which won a special prize at Cannes in 1976, and Peter Stein's drama Sommergäste. He had been suffering from colon cancer.

Ganz, a prominent figure in the German-language theatre world, moved into films in the 1970s, appearing in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu and Wenders' The American Friend among others.

The famed actor was a giant of German cinema.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday offered his condolences to Ganz's family and friends via Twitter, praising him as "one of the most important actors of our time" whose "brilliant work remains" despite his death.

It is not known to whom he had chosen to pass the heirloom at the time of his death.

Married once, Ganz was separated from his wife with whom he had a son.

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