Austrian born actor Maximilian Schell died Saturday from a bout of chronic pneumonia, he was 83 years old. Schell won an Academy and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor as Hans Rolfe in the film "Judgment at Nuremberg". He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his roles in the films "Julia" and "The Man in the Glass Booth". Besides working in front of the camera, Schell wrote nine screenplays and directed eight films. Ever the versatile actor, he worked in several different genres such as science-fiction, drama, action, thrillers and disaster epics.
Born on December 8, 1930 in Vienna, Austria Schell grew up in an artistic family (his mother was an actress and father was a writer. His family left their homeland for Switzerland when Germany annexed Austria in 1938. Growing up he decided he wanted to become an actor and after spending a couple of years studying in a university joined the Basel Theatre. Schell acted in European films before heading out to Hollywood. His first American production was the film "The Young Lions". From then on he acted on television before breaking out with the role of Hans Rolfe that not only netted him an Academy Award but roles in more Hollywood productions such as "Topkapi", "Five Finger Exercise" and "The Reluctant Saint". During this time he continued to act on West German television along with his movie roles.
During the seventies Schell expanded upon his repertoire by appearing in films such as Sam Peckinpah's underrated war epic "Cross of Iron" as a glory seeking Prussian/German officer, mad scientist Dr. Hans Reinhardt in "The Black Hole" and war fugitive Eduard Roschmann in "The Odessa File". He was also nominated for Academy Awards for his roles in the war drama "Julia" and "The Man in the Glass Booth". In the eighties he appeared in notable television productions such as "The Diary of Anne Frank", "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Peter the Great". He continued to balance his time with theatre, making documentaries and appearances on television and guest starring roles in films. In 1993 he won a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of V.I. Lenin in the TV movie "Stalin".
Maximilian Schell was a unique and versatile actor who made the transition from the stage to the small screen and on celluloid. His screen presence and charisma made him one of the best and he will be missed. Schell is survived by his second wife Iva Mihanovic, his first wife Natalya Andrejchenko and daughter Nastassja Schell.