Home Entertainment Helmut Berger, star of Visconti’s The Damned, dies aged 78

Helmut Berger, star of Visconti’s The Damned, dies aged 78

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Helmut Berger, star of Visconti’s The Damned, dies aged 78

Austrian actor Helmut Berger, who grew to become a star of 60s and 70s artwork cinema with roles in movies equivalent to Luchino Visconti’s The Damned, and Ludwig and Joseph Losey’s The Romantic Englishwoman, has died aged 78. His dying was introduced by his administration company, which posted a statement on its website saying Berger had “handed away peacefully however unexpectedly” in Salzburg, town the place he grew up.

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Helmut Berger at the 1976 Cannes film festival.
Helmut Berger on the 1976 Cannes movie competition. {Photograph}: AFP/Getty Pictures

Born Helmut Steinberger within the Austrian spa city of Dangerous Ischl in 1944, Berger studied appearing in London earlier than transferring to Italy, the place he met and started a relationship with acclaimed director Luchino Visconti, almost 40 years his senior. Visconti gave him his first appearing position, a small half within the comedian anthology The Witches, and subsequently solid him in a spectacular position in his landmark 1969 epic The Damned. Berger performed Martin von Essenbeck, a scion of a rich industrial household who wrestle for management over the enterprise in interwar Germany because the Nazis rise to energy; for the movie, Berger famously carried out in drag as Marlene Dietrich and was subsequently nominated for a Golden Globe for many promising male newcomer.

Berger then starred in an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Image of Dorian Grey, and was solid in Vittorio de Sica’s 1970 masterwork The Backyard of the Finzi-Continis, as a member of affluent Italian household that fall sufferer to the fascists through the second world battle. Berger was subsequently solid in one other signature position in Visconti’s biopic of Bavaria’s eccentric Nineteenth-century King Ludwig II. Berger reunited once more with Visconti for Dialog Piece, launched in 1974, during which he starred reverse Burt Lancaster in a drama impressed by his and Visconti’s relationship; in the identical interval he performed certainly one of his many playboy-gigolo characters reverse Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda in Ash Wednesday, and one other reverse Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson in The Romantic Englishwoman. Within the Tinto Brass-directed Salon Kitty, he returned to the mix of sleaze and Nazism as an SS man who units up a brothel for spying functions.

After Visconti’s dying in 1976, which precipitated a private disaster, Berger struggled in his profession, however secured a outstanding position in TV sequence Dynasty as Fallon Carrington’s sleazy fiance Peter De Vilbis, who dies in a aircraft crash. He additionally had a small half as corrupt Vatican accountant Frederick Keinszig in The Godfather Half III whereas persevering with to work in largely European productions. Late work included the 1989 incarnation of Yves Saint Laurent within the 2014 biopic of the fashion designer directed by Bertrand Bonello, and his last position in Albert Serra’s 2019 film Liberté, which he performs an 18th-century aristocrat who organises an evening of out of doors debauchery.

Except for his relationship with Visconti, Berger, who was bisexual, was related to quite a few celebrities of the period, and married Francesca Guidato in 1994.

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