Oscar winning actor Maximilian Schell dies, aged 83

One of the most internationally successful German-speaking actors of all time, Schell won an Academy Award in 1961 for Judgment at Nuremburg and starred in blockbusters like Deep Impact


Maximilian Schell, the Oscar winning Austrian-Swiss actor, has died aged 83.


Schell was one of the most internationally successful German-speaking actors of all time, having picked up an Academy Award for his performance in fact-based courtroom drama Judgment at Nuremburg in 1961 and gone on to star in a host of Hollywood movies into the late 1990s.

Schell died overnight of “a sudden and serious illness”, according to his agent, but had been treated earlier in the week for pneumonia while filming in Austria. His wife, German opera singer Iva Mihanovic, is reported to have been by his bedside when he died. The pair married just last year despite a 47-year age gap.

Schell’s Hollywood career began with 1958 war movie The Young Lions in which he starred alongside Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin. His Academy Award winning performance came three years later when he starred as the defence lawyer to a Nazi war criminal in Judgment at Nuremburg.

Schell went on to play a diverse range of film roles, including crazed scientist Dr Hans Reinhardt in 1979 Disney sci-fi The Black Hole right up until 1998 disaster movie Deep Impact, in which he was the father of Tea Leoni’s investigative journalist. Along the way, he picked up two more Oscar nominations, best actor in 1976 for The Man in the Glass Booth, which saw him on the other side of the Nazi trials as an accused war criminal, and best supporting actor in 1978, alongside Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, in Julia.

Schell also enjoyed a successful television career, in 1993 picking up a best supporting actor Golden Globe for his performance as Lenin in the US series Stalin.

His sister Maria Schell, who died in 2005, was also a renowned actress.