Bruno Ganz, Who Played Adolf Hitler In 'Downfall,' Dead At 77

Bruno Ganz, Who Played Adolf Hitler In 'Downfall,' Dead At 77

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

Actor Bruno Ganz, who famously played the role of Hitler in Downfall, has died at the age of 77.

But Ganz was best-known around the world for his portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the Academy Award-nominated, German-language film Downfall (Der Untergang).

For many critics his nuanced portrayal of the fascist tyrant that veers between explosive and sombre was unparallelled.

Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets.

The actor also revealed that in taking on the role it was "useful to be able to put my Swiss passport between my heart and Mr Hitler, so that he couldn't touch me".

The entire film was recognized, but one particular scene of Hilter with his generals became the biggest topic of discussion, where Ganz gives a fantastic performance of a man coming to terms that the war is over and his time is coming to an end.

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The film had previously been crowned the victor of the BBC Four World Cinema Award, as well as having been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

This uncommon range was integral not only to his towering work as a Führer facing the specter of his own defeat in 2004's "Downfall" but to many of his more than 80 film and TV roles, mostly in European films.

His career spanned various genres and included The American Friend in 1977, as well as science fiction movie The Boys from Brazil in 1978, which also starred Sir Laurence Olivier.

It grossed $92m (£71.3m) at the worldwide box office when released.

He had the Iffland-Ring, a diamond studded ring stamped with the image of German actor August Wilhelm Iffland, an accolade for the "most significant and worthy" German-speaking actor of their era.

It is not known at present who and if the award has yet been passed on. His father was a Swiss factory worker and his mother was Italian. "I mean, there is certainly no sympathy for Hitler in the film".

Ganz's role as Hitler was seen as one of the first depictions of the Nazi leader in German film, telling the story of Hitler's final days in his bunker in Berlin.

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