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Be it on stage or screen, sizable-yet-affable German actor Gustav Knuth won the hearts of audiences during a career that spanned eight decades and saw the Brunswick-born thespian portray a number of big men with lovably clumsy tendencies. He didn't become well-known for several years, though, as he began in 1918 as a teenage theatre actor in Heidelberg, and from there moved throughout Germany and Switzerland, eventually finding stage work in Hamburg, Berlin and Zurich. Then the film world came calling, with Knuth for his debut securing a considerable role as a likeable blacksmith in the 1935 surprise hit "Der Ammenkonig." From there, he continued playing sensitive types, including a timid sailor in "Great Freedom No. 7" (1944). Even as he aged, his career stayed on this path; such as with his role as Duke Max of Bavaria, bumbling-but-well-meaning father to the title character in the well-known "Sissi" trilogy (1955-1957), or his turn in "The Liar" (1961), which earned him the Ernst Lubitsch Award for best comic performance. Through it all, Knuth played more than 140 film or television roles, some as lead, some in support, endearing himself to family television audiences starting in the 1960s. His autobiography, "Mit einem LÃ¤cheln im Knopfloch" -- which translates as "With a Smile in the Buttonhole" -- was published in 1974, the same year he received a career achievement honor from the German Film Awards and less than a decade before his final spate of roles in the early 1980s. He died in 1987.
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