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Maximilian Schell takes his last bow

Maximilian Schell has taken his final curtain call after an acting career spanning nearly half a century Keystone Archive

The Oscar-winning Swiss film actor, director and musician Maximilian Schell has announced his retirement from the stage after a career lasting nearly 50 years.

This content was published on May 14, 2001 - 11:50

Schell, who is 70, made the announcement in New York after performing on Broadway in a stage version of "Judgment at Nuremberg".

He was playing one of the defendants in the Nazi war crimes trials which followed the Second World War. In the 1961 film on which the play is based he was a defence attorney - a role which earned him an Oscar.

Born in Vienna, Schell was raised in Switzerland after his Swiss father and Austrian mother fled there to escape the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938.

He made his professional stage debut in 1952 and three years later appeared in his first film, "Kinder, Mutter und ein General".

Shortly afterwards, the English-language theatre beckoned. He acted on the Broadway stage and then in Hollywood, playing a German officer who befriends fellow soldier Marlon Brando in "The Young Lions" (1958).

The 1961 academy award was followed by Oscar nominations in 1975 and 1977 for his work in "The Man in the Glass Booth" and "Julia". Schell was also nominated for Oscar awards in later films as director and screenplay writer.

Other film credits include "The Freshman" (1990), "Deep Impact" and "Vampires" (both 1998).

Schell has not confined his talents to stage, screen and television. He has also distinguished himself as a concert pianist and conductor, and performed with the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony orchestras.

Despite ending his stage career, Schell intends to pursue his artistic one. His next project is to produce Wagner's "Lohengrin" with Kent Nagano for the Los Angeles Opera.

His sister is the actress Maria Schell, with whom he co-starred in "The Odessa File" (1974).

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