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Austrian actor Peter Simonischek, star of ‘Toni Erdmann’, dies at 76

Peter Simonischek, star of ‘Toni Erdmann’, dies at 76 - here pictured at the Berlin Film Festival
Peter Simonischek, star of ‘Toni Erdmann’, dies at 76 - here pictured at the Berlin Film Festival Copyright Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
By David Mouriquand
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The celebrated theatre actor and star of Maren Ade's 2016 award-winning comedy 'Toni Erdmann' has died.

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Peter Simonischek, the award-winning Austrian actor who starred in the movie Toni Erdmann and was known for his theatre work, has died at the age of 76.

The Burgtheater in Vienna, Austria, tweeted that Simonischek, a member of its ensemble and an honorary member of the theatre, had died overnight.

“We mourn Peter Simonischek. Our ensemble member and honorary member of the Burgtheater passed away in the night of May 29th to 30th.”

The Burgtheater added that “with Peter Simonischek we are losing a loving, caring colleague, a friend, a man of the heart, an outstanding personality. A person who took a stand, who was interested in the issues of the time and stood up for his opinion and a multifaceted, versatile and great artist. Our thoughts are with his family."

No cause of death has yet been revealed.

Simonischek, born on 6 August 1946 in Graz, Austria, and was trained by the German director Peter Stein at the Schaubühne in Berlin. He remained a pillar of the troupe at the famous German theatre for twenty years and worked on the first German-language production of Yasmina Reza's international hit ‘Art’ in 1995.

He returned to Austria in 1999, joining the permanent company of Vienna's most famous theatre, the Burgtheater, and regularly appeared at the Salzburg Festival, where he was known for playing the title role in the play 'Jedermann' ('Everyman'), an allegory about the Last Judgement written by the Viennese poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929). The cult play has been performed every summer since 1920 at the festival, and for eight years, from 2002 to 2009, Simonischek played the title role of a wealthy bourgeois who converses with death.

He was revealed to a wider international audience with his role of a whimsical patriarch in Maren Ade’s 2016 oddball dramedy and Oscar nominee Toni Erdmann, opposite Sandra Hüller, who recently starred in both Cannes titles The Zone of Interest and this year’s Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall

Toni Erdmann won the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes in 2016 and Simonischek won the German Film Award (Lola) and the European Film Award for best actor for his role.

Peter Simonischek (1946 - 2023).

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