Swiss actor Bruno Ganz just passed away at the age of 77. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he died last night at his home following a long illness.
Bruno Ganz was a character actor who could pull off playing an angel and a devil with ease. In fact, early on his career, he literally played an angel. In the 1987 film “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders, Ganz plays an angel named Damiel who crashes down to Earth. The film follows Damiel’s quest to find the meaning of love as he falls for a human woman.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ganz also starred in “Downfall” as Adolf Hitler. The film, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, follows Hitler on his final days in his WWII bunker. Also, its most famous scene involving Hitler having a meltdown infamously became the subject of countless Internet memes. Ganz himself won immense acclaim for his portrait of the monstrous dictator.
As a result of his critical praise, “Downfall” became a major breakthrough for him. He had worked on American films before, collaborating with names like Francis Ford Coppola and Werner Herzog in the process. However, “Downfall” is what made him a more established name.
Supporting roles in English language films like “The Reader,” “The Counselor,” and “Unknown” would follow. He was last seen in “The House That Jack Built” from Lars Von Trier where he plays a confessor to the main character. In addition, he has a role in Terrence Malick’s upcoming film “Radegund” which is currently in post-production. Given Malick’s history with cutting actors out of his films, here’s hoping that Ganz is in the final product.
An actor’s actor who could play both sides of the same coin, Bruno Ganz was a master at his craft. His contributions to the field of acting will not be forgotten.