Born in Nuremberg on February 27, 1910, the son of a school teacher, well-known German actor Wolfgang Preiss started studying philsophy and theatre sciences alternately (including dance training) and made his stage debut in 1932 in Munich. He appeared in many theatres throughout his country in the 30s including Heidelberg, Bonn, Bremen, Stuttgart, Baden-Baden and Berlin. In early 40s films, WWII interrupted his output for a time, but, in a many, the war never left him, for he would continue playing war-time colonels, generals, and field marshals for the duration of his career. Following more theatre and radio work, he concentrated again on films in the 50s and could hardly be seen out of uniform for the many prototype Nazi officers he ably portrayed. He branched out internationally and kept his uniform starched and pressed for many more prestigious international productions including The Longest Day (1962), The Cardinal (1963), The Train (1964) Von Ryan’s Express (1965), and Anzio (1968) as the nemesis of such American “heroes” as Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, William Holden, Richard Burton, Peter Falk and Frank Sinatra. He played Rommel in Raid on Rommel (1971) and Field Marshal Von Rundstedt in Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far (1977). He would appear in over 100 German and international productions in his lifetime. His film infamy was only heightened after playing the archvillain Dr. Mabuse in a series of German crimers, the first being Fritz Lang’s The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960). In his twilight years he turned more and more to TV, his last appearance being in 1997. He was part of the ensemble cast of “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” in the 80s Married three times, Preiss died at the age of 92 as the result of a fall.
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