Photo © DEFA-Stiftung
Armin Mueller-Stahl is well known to international audiences for his performance in such films as Frank Beyer’s Jakob der Lügner, Costa-Gavras' highly acclaimed Music Box, Barry Levinson's Avalon, George Sluizer's Utz and Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth. He is also an accomplished violinist, pianist, writer and painter.
Mueller-Stahl was born in Tilsit (formerly East Prussia, now Russia) on December 17, 1930. He studied violin and music theory and switched to acting in 1951. This step did not seem very promising at first, but in 1952, he got his first supporting roles at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, followed by roles at the Volksbühne, also in Berlin.
He worked at the East German DEFA Film Studio starting in the mid-1950s. Frank Beyer discovered him and cast him for the role of the Spanish resistance soldier in Fünf Patronenhülsen. Maintaining an artistic friendship with Beyer over many years, Mueller-Stahl performed in Königskinder, Nackt unter Wölfen, Jakob der Lügner, and Geschlossene Gesellschaft. In 1977, he appeared in Roland Gräf’s Die Flucht, a contemporary drama that addressed the taboo topic of escaping from the GDR. His career came to an abrupt halt in the late 1970s, however, when he joined many other leading East German artists in signing a letter protesting the treatment of author and songwriter Wolf Biermann. Mueller-Stahl was blacklisted and no longer allowed to work in East Germany.
After leaving for West Germany in 1980, Mueller-Stahl resumed his acting career under the aegis of the late Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He also acted in Istvan Szabo's Academy Award-winning Oberst Redl and Agnieszka Holland's Bittere Ernte. In 1987, he played a Russian general in the television series America—this was the start of his Hollywood career. In 1997, he was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Shine.
Mueller-Stahl has established himself as one of Germany's most internationally prominent, acclaimed and sought-after screen actors.
|2016||Visionary Award, Washington Jewish Film Festival|
|2011||Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement, Berlin International Film Festival|
|1997||Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor for Shine|
|2009||Angels & Demons|
|2001||Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman (The Manns – Novel of a Century, TV mini-series)|
|1998||The X Files|
|1996||Der Unhold (The Ogre)|
|1991||Night on Earth|
|1989||Das Spinnennetz (The Spiderweb)|
|1987||America (TV mini-series)|
|1985||Bittere Ernte (Angry Harvest)|
|1985||Oberst Redl (Colonel Redl)|
|1982||Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss (Veronika Voss)|
|1978||Die geschlossene Gesellschaft (trans. Private Party, TV)|
|1977||Die Flucht (The Flight)|
|1976||Nelken in Aspik (Carnations in Aspic)|
|1974||Kit & Co.|
|1974||Jakob der Lügner (Jacob the Liar)|
|1972||Januskopf (Janus Face)|
|1971||Der Dritte (Her Third)|
|1969||Tödlicher Irrtum (Fatal Error)|
|1967||Ein Lord am Alexanderplatz (Lord of Alexander Square)|
Alaskafüchse (Alaska Foxes)
|1963||Preludio 11 (Prelude 11)|
|1962||Königskinder (Star-Crossed Lovers)|
|1962||Monolog für einen Taxifahrer (Monologue for a Taxi Driver, TV short, narrator)|
|1962||...und deine Liebe auch (And Your Love Too)|
|1962||Nackt unter Wölfen (Naked Among Wolves)|
|1960||Fünf Patronenhülsen (Five Cartridges)|