Johanna Hofer was born on July 30, 1896 in Berlin. She performed at Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater while still a student at the Theater Academy in Berlin. She then joined the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt ensemble and, a few years later, returned to Berlin to work at the Volksbühne and other Berlin theaters. Her film debut was the silent movie, Die Schwester vom Roten Kreuz.
In 1924, Hofer married the Jewish actor and director Fritz Kortner. After the Nazis gained power at the end of the Weimar Republic, Kortner came under attack. The family left Germany in 1932, emigrating to the United States in 1938 after stops in other countries. After living in New York for a couple of years, they moved to Los Angeles in 1941 and eventually became American citizens. Hofer continued acting in the theater and worked on three films: Above Suspicion (dir. Peter Godfrey), Hitler’s Madman (dir. Douglas Sirk) and Hotel Berlin (dir. Richard Thorpe).
At the end of the 1940s, Hofer and her family returned to Germany, where she acted on stage under the direction of her husband at the Kammerspiele in Munich, with director Peter Zadek at the Schauspielhaus in Bochum and with Peter Stein at the Schaubühne in Berlin. Hofer became an important figure in German 20th-century theater history. She also continued her film career and worked with Josef von Báky (Der Ruf), Robert A. Stemmle (Toxi) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt; Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss). Hofer was also in the cast of the American film production of A Farewell to Arms (directed by John Huston and Charles Vidor), nominated for the 1950 Oscar, and Possession, the official selection of the 1981 Cannes International Film Festival.
She had two children: her son, Peter Kortner (1924-1991), was an American film producer, director and scriptwriter; her daughter, Marianne Brün, who lives in the United States, taught at the University of Illinois and managed a small press.
Johanna Hofer died on June 30, 1988 in Munich.
|1982||Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss (Veronika Voss)|
|1976||Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt (I Only Want You to Love Me, TV)|
|1975||Memento Mori (TV)|
|1973||Im Reservat (On the Reservation, TV)|
|1960||Hexenjagd (Witch Hunt)|
|1958||Ein Lied geht um die Welt (A Song Goes around the World)|
|1957||A Farewell to Arms|
|1956||Vor Sonnenuntergang (Before Sundown)|
|1951||Der Verlorene (The Lost One)|
|1949||Der Ruf (The Call)|
|1927||Die Ausgestoßenen (Caught in Berlin’s Underground)|
|1926||Die Schwester vom Roten Kreuz – Ein Lebenslauf (The Red Cross Nurse – A Life)|