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Joseph Schildkraut

Joseph Schildkraut
File:Joseph Schildkraut in Marie Antoinette trailer.jpg
from the trailer for Marie Antoinette (1938)
Born (1896-03-22)22 March 1896
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 21 January 1964(1964-01-21) (aged 67)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1915–1964
Spouse(s) Elise Bartlett (1923–1930; divorced)
Marie McKay (1932–1962; her death)
Leonora Rogers (1963–1964; his death)
Children None
Parent(s) Rudolph Schildkraut
Erna Weinstein

Joseph Schildkraut (March 22, 1896 – January 21, 1964) was an Austrian-American stage and film actor.

Early life

Schildkraut was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Erna (née Weinstein) and stage (and later motion picture) actor Rudolph Schildkraut.[1] His family was Jewish.[2] The younger Schildkraut moved to the United States in the early 1900s. He appeared in many Broadway productions. Among the plays that he starred in was a notable production of Peer Gynt.


In 1921, Schildkraut played the title role in the first American stage production of Ferenc Molnár's Liliom, the play that would eventually become the basis for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. He then began working in silent movies, although he did return to the stage occasionally. He had early success in film as the Chevalier de Vaudrey in D.W. Griffith's Orphans of the Storm with Lillian Gish. Later, he was featured in Cecil B. DeMille's epic 1927 film The King of Kings, as Judas Iscariot. Schildraut's father Rudolf also appeared in the film. Joseph Schildkraut also played a Viennese-accented, non-singing Gaylord Ravenal in the 1929 part-talkie film version of Edna Ferber's Show Boat. The character as written in the 1929 film was much closer to Ferber's original than to the depiction of him in the classic Kern and Hammerstein musical play based on the novel as well as the 1936 and 1951 film versions of the musical, but the 1929 film was not a critical or box-office success.

Schildkraut received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola (1937). He gained further fame for playing the ambitious duc d'Orléans in the historical epic Marie Antoinette (1938), opposite Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore and Robert Morley, and gave a notable performance as the villainous Nicolas Fouquet in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939).

Schildkraut is perhaps best remembered today for playing the role of Otto Frank in both the original stage production and film version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). He was also an active character actor, and appeared in guest roles on several early television shows, including the Hallmark Hall of Fame, in which he played Claudius in the 1953 television production of Hamlet, with Maurice Evans in the title role. Schildkraut also hosted and starred in Joseph Schildkraut Presents, a short-lived series on the DuMont Television Network from October 1953 to January 1954.

In 1960 he appeared on episode 24th of the second season of The Twilight Zone ("The Rip Van Winkle Caper"). In 1961, during the 3rd season of the same television series, he made his second appearance, on episode 09 "Deaths-Head Revisited". In 1963, he was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award for his performance in a guest starring role on NBC's Sam Benedict legal drama which starred Edmond O'Brien and Richard Rust.

Personal life

Schildkraut was married three times. He died in New York City. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6780 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Selected filmography

See also

Further reading

  • Joseph Schildkraut, My Father and I, as told to Leo Lania, New York 1959.


  1. ^ Parker, John (1916). Who's Who in the Theatre 3. Pittman. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 
  2. ^ "Joseph Schildkraut, Noted American Jewish Actor, Dead; Was 68". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 23 January 1964. Retrieved 2014-09-21. 

External links

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