Christoph Waltz was born on 4 October 1956 in Vienna, Austria. His father, Johannes Waltz, was a set builder and his mother, Elisabeth Urbancic, was a costume designer. His grandmother was the famous Burgtheater chamber actress Maria Mayen, and his step-grandfather was Emmerich Reimers, also an actor at the Burgtheater in Vienna. According to tz-online.de, Christoph’s great-grandfather was also an actor. Johannes Waltz died in 1964 when Christoph was 7 years old. Mr. Waltz has three adult children from his ex-wife, and also a daughter with his wife, Judith Holste, a costume designer based in Berlin.
Wikipedia.de states that Mr. Waltz attended the Theresianum, and the Billrothstrasse in Vienna, from which he graduated. After his maturade, he auditioned for and was accepted to the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna. After graduating, he starred in the German television series “Parole Chicago” and in 1979 moved to New York City to study at the Lee Strasberg Institute. While Mr. Waltz cites Stella Adler as an influence, he has stated in several interviews that he does not really prepare for his roles using the institute’s “method” style for which it is known.
Upon graduating from the Lee Strasberg Institute, Mr. Waltz tells a story of visiting a Hollywood agent where he expressed his ambitions to work in LA. The agent informed him that he would probably spend his entire career in the background playing Nazi-type characters. Not wishing to be typecast, he returned to Vienna to work in the theater. After a few years, he moved to London and started a family. Mr. Waltz worked steadily through the 80s, 90s, and into 2000, mostly commuting from London to Berlin. He took roles in theater, film, television, and recorded audiobooks.
It was not until he met Quentin Tarantino that his career in Hollywood took off. The role of Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds catapulted Christoph from a lifetime working in German TV/film to the new life of an international superstar, Academy Award winning actor. He won 27 awards for his performance as Hans Landa, including the Cannes prix d’interpretation Masculin for 2009, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and the BAFTA Best Supporting Actor award.
A second collaboration with Quentin Tarantino found Christoph again in the midst of awards season. For his role as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained, he won the BAFTA, Golden Globe and his second Academy Award. The collaboration with Tarantino is reportedly “easy” for Christoph, because, “Quentin writes poetry.” This collaboration has proved both professionally and personally beneficial for both men, earning them both awards, plaudits and creating some of the most important masterpieces ever made.
Christoph Waltz is truly unique and one of the world’s most intelligent, cultured and civilized gentleman/actors. While he deferred to Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt in an interview as being master actors on a level of ‘seventh degree dans’, Mr. Waltz is, without a doubt, a master in a league of his own.
Copyright 2010-2013 KRH a/k/a Sachertorte.
Text proofread and edited by Lisa Emig 1/5/2011
Text updated 3/26/2013
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