Emil Jannings


Born: Rorschach, Switzerland, 23 July 1884.
Died: Strobl, Austria, 1950.

A theatre actor since 1900, Jannings worked with the Max Reinhardt company in 1915-16. His first film role came in the war propaganda film Im Schützengraben (1914). From 1916 his film parts were more substantial, and as Louis XV in Ernst Lubitsch’s Madame Dubarry (1919) he became world-famous. After Quo Vadis (1924) he felt typecast in costume drama, and succeeded in new roles: Der letzte Mann / The Last Laugh (1924) and Variété / Variety (1925), both well-received in the US. A three-year contract with Paramount followed, and in 1928 Jannings received the very first Oscar ever, for The Last Command (1928; dir. Josef von Sternberg). A wealthy man, he returned to Germany in 1929, having persuaded Sternberg to direct him once more, as Professor Rath in Der blaue Engel / The Blue Angel (1930). Jannings resumed his career in the theatre, but also recaptured his earlier film stardom in such Nazi propaganda films as Der alte und der junge König (1935). In 1936 he joined the board of directors of Tobis and was involved in Ohm Krüger (1941), one of the most expensive anti-British propaganda productions of the Third Reich. In 1946 the US military officially “denazified” hi

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