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Actor Maximilian Schell dead

Vienna, Feb. 1: Austrian-born actor Maximilian Schell, a fugitive from Adolf Hitler who became a Hollywood favourite and won an Oscar for his role as a defence attorney in Judgment at Nuremberg, has died. He was 83.

Schell’s agent, Patricia Baumbauer, said today he died overnight at a hospital in Innsbruck following a “sudden and serious illness”, the Austria Press Agency reported.

It was only his second Hollywood role, as defence attorney Hans Rolfe in Stanley Kramer’s classic Judgment at Nuremberg, that earned him wide international acclaim. Schell’s impassioned but unsuccessful defence of four Nazi judges on trial for sentencing innocent victims to death won him the 1961 Academy Award for best actor.

Despite being type-cast for numerous Nazi-era films, Schell’s acting performances in the mid-1970s also won him renewed popular acclaim, earning him a best actor Oscar nomination for The Man in the Glass Booth and a supporting actor nomination for his performance alongside Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Robards in Julia.

The son of Swiss playwright Hermann Ferdinand Schell and Austrian stage actress Noe von Nordberg, Schell was born in Vienna on December 8, 1930 and raised in Switzerland after his family fled Germany’s annexation of his homeland.

Schell followed in the footsteps of his older sister Maria and brother Carl, making his stage debut in 1952.

He then appeared in a number of German films before relocating to Hollywood in 1958.

 
 
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