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Klaus Kinski

Klaus Kinski

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Also Known As: Niklaus Gunther Nakszynski Died: November 23, 1991
Born: Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Poland Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Without a doubt the most intense and perhaps insane actor ever to grace the silver screen, Klaus Kinski tapped into his dark inner reaches to deliver a number of spellbinding performances that often bordered on psychosis. With a deep furrowed brow overhanging large malefic eyes that heightened his manic intensity while betraying no inner vulnerability, Kinski had a long, notorious career that both fed on and was complicated by his monumental ego. Though he appeared in over 250 films, the five he made with German compatriot, director Werner Herzog, were the stuff of filmmaking legend. Their combative and codependent collaboration started with "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972), and resumed years later with "Nosferatu the Vampyre" (1979), "Woyzeck" (1979) and "Fitzcarraldo" (1982). All throughout their partnership, both concurrently despised and needed one another, creating an artistic energy neither matched with any other collaborator. Their long-running partnership, which also was a stormy friendship, generated the best work either made in their careers - though often at great emotional, psychological and even physical harm - and ended 15 years after it began with "Cobra Verde" (1987), their least...

Without a doubt the most intense and perhaps insane actor ever to grace the silver screen, Klaus Kinski tapped into his dark inner reaches to deliver a number of spellbinding performances that often bordered on psychosis. With a deep furrowed brow overhanging large malefic eyes that heightened his manic intensity while betraying no inner vulnerability, Kinski had a long, notorious career that both fed on and was complicated by his monumental ego. Though he appeared in over 250 films, the five he made with German compatriot, director Werner Herzog, were the stuff of filmmaking legend. Their combative and codependent collaboration started with "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972), and resumed years later with "Nosferatu the Vampyre" (1979), "Woyzeck" (1979) and "Fitzcarraldo" (1982). All throughout their partnership, both concurrently despised and needed one another, creating an artistic energy neither matched with any other collaborator. Their long-running partnership, which also was a stormy friendship, generated the best work either made in their careers - though often at great emotional, psychological and even physical harm - and ended 15 years after it began with "Cobra Verde" (1987), their least accomplished effort. Though together for only a fraction of their creative outputs, it was impossible to talk of either one without mentioning the other. For Kinski, the collaboration with Herzog proved fruitful artistically, but damaging and soul-wrecking in private.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Paganini (1989) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 My Best Fiend (1999)
3.
4.
 Paganini (1989) Nicolo Paganini
5.
 Nosferatu a Venezia (1988) Nosferatu
6.
 Cobra Verde (1988) Francisco Manoel Da Silva
7.
 Timestalkers (1987) Dr Joseph Cole
8.
 Crawlspace (1986) Dr Karl Gunther
9.
 Caballero del Dragon, El (1986) Boetius
10.
 Kommando Leopard (1985) Colonel Silveira
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
Moved with parents to Berlin (date approximate)
1944:
Drafted into the German army at age 16
:
On second day of combat in the Netherlands, Kinski was injured and captured by Allied forces and spent the rest of WWII in a British prison-of-war camp
:
Gave poetry recitals in small German cabarets and later larger halls
:
Acted on stage in Tubingen and Baden-Baden
1948:
West German film acting debut, "Morituri"
1951:
First English-language film, "Decision Before Dawn"
1960:
Moved to Berlin
1961:
Appeared on German TV in "Die Kurve"
1989:
Directorial and screenwriting debut with the unreleased feature, "Paganini" (also actor)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"There are great contradictions in the man, between violence and sensitivity, liberty and domination. You can see it in the eyes...which are as blue as hyacinths. And you can judge it from the lavishly wide, sensual mouth...a mouth to suck the sleep out of Sleeping Beauty or to tear at raw meat."--David Thomson in AMERICAN FILM (quoted in Film Dope, Volume 30)

"Paradoxically, the amount of junk he has played in seems only to add to his prestige, fostering a myth of the true artist who maintains his talent and integrity even when mired in dung. But in looking around this slum of a filmography which, like most slums, does have a few redeeming areas, one is struck by the contrast between Kinski's defiantly mercenary justifications ('I told them never mind sending me the script, just send me the cheque.') and the actual performances he gave. Far from suggesting indifference, they indicate the oppoosite, a frantic desire that the audience be watching no one on the screen but him...even when he's only on the periphery of a scene, Kinski is usally steigering away, glowering and sucking his fingers. This is not a disinterested performer."--Bob Baker (Film Dope, Volume 30)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gislinde Kinski. Married in the 1950s; divorced three years later.
wife:
Ruth Brigitte Tocki. Writer. Second wife; mother of Nastassja Kinski.
wife:
Minhoi Wiggers. Third wife; mother of Nanhoi/Nikolai.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Achim Nakszynski.
brother:
Arne Nakszynski.
sister:
Inge Nakszynski.
daughter:
Pola Kinski. Actor.
daughter:
Nastassja Kinski. Actor, model. Born January 24, 1960; mother Ruth Brigitte Tocki.
son:
Nikolai Kinski. Actor. Born July 31, 1976; mother Minhoi Wiggers.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Ich bin so wild nach deinem Erdbeermund"
"All I Need Is Love: A Memoir"
"Kinski Uncut: The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski"

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