Dagmar Manzel was born in Berlin on September 1, 1958 and studied at the Academy for Performing Arts there from 1977 to 1980. While still a student, she appeared in Urfaust, which was recorded for television. Her first engagement was with the Staatstheater Dresden, and she subsequently joined the Deutsche Theater Berlin in 1983, where she played outstanding roles under the direction of Thomas Langhoff and Heiner Müller until 2001. Since then, Manzel has worked as a freelance actor, including at the Komische Oper in Berlin (Kiss me, Kate, 2008; Im Weissen Rössl, 2010) and Berliner Ensemble (Endstation Sehnsucht, 2011).
Since the mid-1980s, Menzel has also played different types of characters as a movie and television actor. In 1986, she demonstrated her considerable talent with her portrayal of Claudia in Heiner Carow's mother-daughter story So viele Träume, which was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 1987 Berlin International Film Festival. She also appeared in Helmut Dietl's comedy Schtonk! and Rainer Kaufmann’s Die Apothekerin.
Menzel won the German Film Prize for Best Actress in 2000 for her role in the TV series Klemperer – Ein Leben in Deutschland, and again in 2006 for her performance in Als der Fremde kam. She was also part of the cast of the internationally-awarded film about the Nanjing massacre, John Rabe. She has worked with many important German film directors, inlcuding Andreas Dresen, Kai Wessel, Andreas Kleinert, Hans-Christian Schmid and Romuald Karmakar.
Dagmar Manzel is also known as a singer. In 2011, she released her latest CD, Irgendwo auf der Welt, with lost songs by German film composer Werner Richard Heymann (1896–1961).
|2006||German Film Prize for Best Actress, for Als der Fremde kam|
|2000||German Film Prize for Best Actress, for Klemperer – Ein Leben in Deutschland|
|2011||Die Unsichtbare (Cracks in the Shell)|
|2011||Die verlorene Zeit (Remembrance)|
|2007||Frei nach Plan (According to Plan)|
|2007||Freischwimmer (Head under Water)|
|2006||Als der Fremde kam (When the Stranger Came, TV)|
|2006||Nicht alle waren Mörder (Not Everyone Was a Murderer, TV)|
|2006||Vier Töchter (Four Daughters)|
|2005||Die Nachrichten (News, TV)|
|2005||Speer und er (Speer and Hitler: The Devil’s Architect, TV mini-series)|
|2001||Kelly Bastian – Geschichte einer Hoffnung (Kelly Bastian: A Story of Hope, TV)|
|1999||Klemperer – Ein Leben in Deutschland (Klemperer: A Life in Germany, TV)|
|1998||Der Laden (The Shop, TV mini-series)|
|1997||Die Apothekerin (The Pharmacist)|
|1995||Nach Fünf im Urwald (A Jungle Out There)|
|1992||Verfehlung (The Mistake)|
|1990||Tanz auf der Kippe (Dancing on the Dump)|
|1989||Der Magdalenenbaum (The Tree of Magdalena)|
|1987||Die erste Reihe (The First Row, TV)|
|1986||So viele Träume (So Many Dreams)|
|1985||Der Junge mit dem grossen schwarzen Hund (The Boy with the Big Black Dog)|
|1981||Wäre die Erde nicht rund (Were the Earth Not Round, synchronisation)|