Maximilian Schell was an Austrian-Swiss actor, writer and director who was best known for his work as a performer. He won an Oscar for the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg, in a role he originated on television in a 1959 production of the anthology series Playhouse 90.
Schell was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1930, and moved to Zurich, Switzerland, with his family in 1938 after Austria was annexed by Nazi Gemany. He grew up in a household rich in culture and the arts, and began his acting career at the Basel Theater before breaking into films with the 1955 German production Children, Mothers and a General.
He made several films in Europe before making his Hollywood debut in 1958 release The Young Lions, with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. The following year came his breakthrough with Judgment at Nuremberg on Playhouse 90, followed by his award-winning performance in the feature version.
In the years that followed he continued to work in America and Europe. His feature credits included The Castle, Krakatoa: East of Java, The Odessa File, A Bridge Too Far, The Man in the Glass Booth and Julia, the latter two of which earned him Oscar nominations.
For his television work, he received Primetime Emmy nominations for the 1992 telefilms Stalin and Miss Rose White. His other TV movies included The Fifth Column, The Three Musketeers, Heidi, The Diary of Anne Frank, Candles in the Dark, The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years and Joan of Arc. In addition, he had a regular role in the 1990 series Wiseguy.
He also wrote, produced and directed several films.
Schell died February 1, 2014, in Innsbruck, Austria. He was 83.