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Karl Boehm

Karl Boehm

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Also Known As: Karlheinz Bohm,Karlheinz Boehm,Carl Boehm Died: May 29, 2014
Born: March 16, 1928 Cause of Death: Complications from Alzheimer's Disease
Birth Place: Germany Profession: Cast ... actor
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BIOGRAPHY

Raised in Germany, Austrian actor Karlheinz Böhm grew up in the cities of Darmstadt, Hamburg, and Dresden. The son of German soprano Thea Linhard and acclaimed Austrian-born conductor Karl Böhm, Karlheinz Böhm moved to Switzerland at age 11 to attend school. Due to the heavy presence of classical music in his home, Böhm intended to pursue classical piano after completing high school, but performed poorly during auditions. After meandering through studies in literature and art history, Böhm relocated to Vienna and studied acting under Professor Helmut Krauss. He proved a far more gifted actor than pianist, and soon was appearing onstage in theatrical productions across Europe. His film breakthrough came when Böhm was cast opposite Austrian actress Romy Schneider in "Sissi" (1955), the first installment in a successful film trilogy about Elisabeth, Empress of Austria. After several years making his name in German-langauge film, Böhm made his English-language debut in Michael Powell's controversial psychosexual thriller "Peeping Tom" (1960), in which he played the lead role of Mark Lewis, a psychopathic murderer who films his victims. Although the film was shocking enough that it all but ended the estimable Powell's career in the British film industry, Böhm was able to move temporarily to America to expand his career following its release. During the early years of the 1960s, Böhm appeared in a number of American films, including "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" (1962) and "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1962). He also guest starred on a variety of American TV shows, including a two-part episode of the anthology hit "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" (ABC 1961-69), in which he starred as Ludwig Van Beethoven. (For most of his American work, Böhm anglicized his name to Carl Boehm.) In the mid-70s, Böhm appeared in four films helmed by the formidable German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder: "Martha" (1974), "Effi Briest" (1974), "Fox and His Friends" (1975), and "Mother Küsters' Trip To Heaven" (1975). During the 1980s, Böhm became deeply involved in charity work in Ethiopia, founding the organization "Humans for Humans." In 2007, he was honored for his work with the charity, receiving the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood among Peoples. Though he had largely retired from acting in the early 1980s as his humanitarian work took precedence, he returned to the screen for a final voiceover role in 2009, dubbing the German-language voice of Carl Fredericksen in Pixar's animated hit "Up." Böhm died in Salzburg Austria in May 2014, reportedly from complications related to Alzheimer's disease.

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