KLAUS KINSKI Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Though he invariably looked sickly and tubercular, Polish/German actor Klaus Kinski rose to fame in roles calling for near-manic aggressiveness. His war career consisted primarily of a year and a half in a British POW camp. After this experience, Kinski took to the theater, where he rapidly built a reputation for on-stage brilliance and off-stage emotional instability. He made his first German film, Morituri, in 1948; three years later, he made his English-language movie debut with a fleeting bit in Decision Before Dawn (1951).


Villainy was Kinski’s film stock in trade during the 1950s and ’60s, with several appearances in Germany’s Edgar Wallace second-feature series and in such Italian spaghetti Westerns as For a Few Dollars More (1965). International stardom came Kinski’s way via his off-the-beam appearances in the films of director Werner Herzog, notably Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1973), Woyzeck (1978), Nosferatu (1979), and Fitzcarraldo (1982). With 1989’s Paganini, Kinski proved to be as colorful and chaotic a director as he was an actor. Kinski was the father of actress Nastassja Kinski, though the two seldom saw each other and were never close. He died in 1991. Hal Erickson.