Oscar winner Maximilian Schell dies aged 83

Sat Feb 1, 2014 4:20pm EST
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VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian actor Maximilian Schell, who won an Academy Award for his role as a German defense attorney in the acclaimed 1961 courtroom drama "Judgment at Nuremberg", has died at age 83.

The Vienna-born actor died overnight at a clinic in Innsbruck as the result of a "sudden and serious illness", his agent, Patricia Baumbauer, told the Austria Press Agency on Saturday.

One of the best known foreign actors in U.S. films, Schell starred on stage and screen on both sides of the Atlantic after growing up in Switzerland, where his family settled to escape the Nazis after Germany's 1938 annexation of Austria.

The brother of actress Maria Schell, he also won a Golden Globe and New York Film Critics Circle award for his role in "Judgment at Nuremberg", which followed a television drama version of the play.

"Judgment at Nuremberg," directed by Stanley Kramer, was a dramatization of the war crimes trials in Germany that followed World War Two. It focused on an international tribunal, headed by Americans, that was handling the trials of four German judges accused of knowingly condemning innocent men to death in concert with the Nazis.

For his portrayal of defense attorney Hans Rolfe, Schell earned broad international recognition. He was part of an all-star cast that also included Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift, Richard Widmark and Judy Garland.

Schell won the Oscar for best actor, beating, among others, his co-star Tracy. The movie was nominated for 11 Oscars, including best picture, and won two Academy Awards.

Schell was nominated for two more Oscars, in 1976 for best actor for "The Man in the Glass Booth" and in 1978 as best supporting actor for "Julia".

Also a prolific television actor, Schell won the 1993 Golden Globe for best actor in a supporting role in the TV movie "Stalin" in which he co-starred with Robert Duvall.   Continued...

Austrian actor and Academy award winner Maximilian Schell performs on stage during the Red Ribbon Celebration Concert ahead of the 20th Life Ball at Vienna's international airport May 18, 2012. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger