|Born||22 March 1896|
Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
|Died||21 January 1964 (aged 67)|
New York City, U.S.
|Burial place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
(m. 1923; div. 1930)
(m. 1932; died 1962)
Joseph Schildkraut (22 March 1896 – 21 January 1964) was an Austrian-American actor. He won an Oscar for his performance as Captain Alfred Dreyfus in the film The Life of Emile Zola (1937); later, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Otto Frank in the film The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and a Primetime Emmy for his performance as Rabbi Gottlieb in a 1962 episode of the television series Sam Benedict.
Schildkraut was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Erna (née Weinstein) and stage (and later motion picture) actor Rudolph Schildkraut. His family was Jewish.
In 1910, he accompanied his father on his tour to the U.S. and returned to Europe in 1913. He began stage training with Max Reinhardt in Berlin shortly afterward, began his career on the stages of Germany and Austria, then made the transition to film. Schildkraut moved to the U.S. in 1920 and appeared in many Broadway productions. Among the plays in which he starred was a notable production of Peer Gynt.
In 1921, Schildkraut played the title role in the first American stage production of Ferenc Molnár's Liliom, the play that eventually became the basis for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. He then began working in silent movies, but he returned to the stage occasionally. He had early success in film as the Chevalier de Vaudrey in D.W. Griffith's Orphans of the Storm with Lillian Gish. Later, he was featured in Cecil B. DeMille's epic 1927 film The King of Kings as Judas Iscariot. Schildraut's father Rudolf also appeared in the film. Joseph Schildkraut also played a Viennese-accented, non-singing Gaylord Ravenal in the 1929 part-talkie film version of Edna Ferber's Show Boat. The character as written in the 1929 film was much closer to Ferber's original than to the depiction of him in the classic Kern and Hammerstein musical play based on the novel as well as the 1936 and 1951 film versions of the musical, but the 1929 film was not a critical or box-office success.
Schildkraut received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola (1937). Additional accolades came for playing the ambitious duc d'Orléans in the historical epic Marie Antoinette (1938), and he gave a notable performance as the villainous Nicolas Fouquet in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939).
Schildkraut is perhaps best remembered today for playing the role of Otto Frank in both the original stage production and film version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). He was also an active character actor and appeared in guest roles on several early television shows, including the Hallmark Hall of Fame, in which he played Claudius in the 1953 television production of Hamlet, with Maurice Evans in the title role. Schildkraut also hosted and starred in Joseph Schildkraut Presents, a short-lived series on the DuMont Television Network from October 1953 to January 1954.
In 1961, during the third season of The Twilight Zone, he made his first appearance on "Deaths-Head Revisited". He later played an elderly man in "The Trade-Ins" in season 3, episode 31 of the same show. In 1963, he was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award for his performance in a guest-starring role on Sam Benedict.
Schildkraut was married three times. His first marriage was to actress Elise Bartlett in 1923; they divorced in 1931. He married Mary McKay in 1932 until her death on February 17, 1962. In 1963, Schildkraut married Leonora Rogers, who survived him. Schildkraut died at his home in New York City of a heart attack. His father had died at the same age, also of a heart attack.
For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Schildkraut has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6780 Hollywood Boulevard. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.