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Swiss Actor Bruno Ganz, Who Played Hitler In ‘Downfall’, Dies At 77

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Swiss actor, Bruno Ganz, who was known for his roles as Adolf Hitler in the film “Downfall” and the angel Damiel in “Wings of Desire,” died on Saturday at the age of 77 in Zurich, his manager said.

Ganz was considered one of the leading theatre and film artists in the German-speaking world.

He died from cancer, his manager, Patricia Baumbauer, said in a statement, adding that his closest family was with him in his final hour.

Ganz, the son of a Swiss factory worker and an Italian mother grew up in Zurich.

After getting a first taste of acting as a pupil, Ganz met the German theatre director, Peter Stein, and worked with him at the Berliner Schaubuehne, a stage that played a key role in the European theatre scene in the 1970s.

In the same decade, Ganz began working on screen projects that were based on works of literature, such as Eric Rohmer’s film “The Marquise of O”.

In 1987, he played an angel in Wim Wender’s “Wings of Desire”, which later received a Hollywood remake as “City of Angels”, with Nicolas Cage taking on Ganz’s role.

Ganz won international fame for his role of the Nazi dictator in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “Downfall” in 2004.

The scene, in which Hitler slowly erupts into a rage after his officers inform him of his defeat, has not only been watched millions of times online, but has also been spoofed seemingly as many times.

The scene also made users to create new subtitles for Ganz’s unhinged performance.

Ganz was the bearer of the Iffland ring that is bestowed on the best German-speaking actor.

 


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