- Category : Actor
- Type : GP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Separation 2
Maximilian Schell (born December 8, 1930) is an Academy Award-winning Austrian actor. He is also a writer, director and producer of several films.
Schell was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Margarethe (née Noe von Nordberg), an actress, and Hermann Ferdinand Schell, a poet, writer, and owner of a pharmacy. Schell's late elder sister, Maria Schell, was also an actress; as are their two other siblings, Carl and Immy (Immaculata) Schell, and their cousin, Catherine Schell. The Schell family moved to Zurich, Switzerland in 1938, where young Maximilian later served in the Swiss Army, achieving the rank of corporal. He began acting at the Basel Theater.
Schell made his Hollywood debut in 1958 in the World War II film The Young Lions. In 1959, he appeared as Hans Rolfe, the defense attorney, in a live Playhouse 90 television production of Judgment at Nuremberg. In 1961, he reprised the role, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor. In 1974's The Pedestrian, for which Schell wrote, produced, directed, and starred, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.
Schell refused to be typecast. Although he was top billed in a number of Nazi-era themed films as The Man in the Glass Booth, A Bridge Too Far, Cross of Iron, The Odessa File, Julia, and Judgment at Nuremberg, he has also appeared in Topkapi, Krakatoa, East of Java, The Black Hole, The Freshman, Stalin, Deep Impact, Candles in the Dark, and Erste Liebe. Since the 1990s, Schell has appeared in many German language made-for-TV films, such as the 2003 film Alles Glück dieser Erde (All the Luck in the World) opposite Uschi Glas and in the mini-series The Return of the Dancing Master (2004), which was based on Henning Mankell's novel.
In addition to his international film career, Schell has been active as director, writer and actor in European theatre, making his stage debut in 1952, three years before his first cinematic role. In 1972 he starred as 'Deeley' in Peter Hall's German language premiére of Harold Pinter's Old Times at the Burgtheater in Vienna, and in 2006 he appeared in Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues directed by Robert Altman in London at the Old Vic. Schell has also served as a writer, producer and director for a variety of films, including the documentary film Marlene (1984) with the participation of Marlene Dietrich that won several awards. In 2002, he released My Sister Maria, a documentary about the career of and his relationship with Maria Schell.
Among fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Schell is known for starring in Hamlet, Prinz von Dänemark, a German language version of Hamlet screened on the show.
DVD of film Topkapi
The 1964 film Topkapi, starring Maximilian Schell, released to DVD on October 4, 2004 involves the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. The DVD cover (see image at top) shows Schell as he appeared during the 1960s, with short black hair, along with co-stars Peter Ustinov (1921-2004) and Melina Mercouri (also the wife of the producer). Unlike in some other films, Maximilian Schell (who actually attended school in Switzerland and served in the Swiss Army) is not portrayed as a German official in the film.
In 2000, he collapsed and was diagnosed with pancreatitis related to his diabetes. At the time, he was starring on Broadway in the premiere of the stage version of Judgment at Nuremberg, changing roles from the defense lawyer to the lead judge on trial for crimes against humanity.
In the mid 1960s, Schell reportedly was engaged to marry the African American fashion model Donyale Luna, though the wedding never happened. He did marry famous Russian actress Natalya Andreychenko, whom he met on the set of Peter the Great. They have one daughter, Anastasia Schell, born in 1989. He lives in Austria.
Schell is the godfather of Angelina Jolie, daughter of Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand.