Schmitt, Walfriede


Walfriede Schmitt was born on March 9, 1943 in Berlin. From 1963-1966, she studied theater at the Ernst Busch Academy for Acting in Berlin.


Schmitt’s theater career began in Parchim, and she continued her theater work in Halle and Meiningen. In 1972 Schmitt moved back to Berlin, performing first at the Deutsches Theater, then at the Volksbühne until 1994. There she became one of the leading actresses, working with directors such as Benno Besson, Heiner Müller, Frank Castorf, Johann Kresnik, and Christoph Schlingensief. She received awards for her performances in Legende vom Glück ohne Ende (Theater Schwedt) and Der Falschspieler.


Schmitt began her film and television career in the mid-1970s, reaching a broad audience in numerous major and minor roles. A highlight of Schmitt’s early film career was her impressive portrayal of Martha in Das Schilfrohr, based on the novel by Anna Seghers. Schmitt often played mother characters in children’s films, such as Moritz in der Litfaßsäule and Jorinde und Joringel.


In 1995, Schmitt became known throughout Germany as the head nurse Klara in the hospital series Für alle Fälle Stefanie. Since the 90s, Schmitt has continued to appear in various TV programs and films.


During the Wende, Walfriede Schmitt was involved in founding the East Berlin women’s movement and helped founding of the Independent Women’s Organization in 1989. She was also one of the first to sign a call against the war in Afghanistan and was involved in protest against the invasion in Iraq.


Schmitt has also taught acting in the United States, Canada and at the Ernst Busch Academy for Acting in Berlin. In 2008, she worked on a theater play with female prisoners.

Festivals & Awards:

2003 Berlin Women’s Award for humanitarian work for women and peace


Bibliography & More:

Schmitt, Walfriede. 2009. Gott ist zu langsam. Berlin/Basel: Leonhard Thurneysser.


2010 Keiner geht verloren (Nobody Gets Lost, TV)
2007 Weisse Lilien (White Lillies)
2001 Ich bring dich hinter Gitter (I’ll Lock You Up, TV)
1995-2004  Für alle Fälle Stefanie (Always Stefanie, TV series)
1990 Die Sprungdeckeluhr (The Hunter Watch)
1990  Zirri  das Wolkenschaf (Cirri: The Cloud Lamb)
1990 Alter schützt vor Liebe nicht (Age Is No Defense against Love, TV)
1989 Zwei schräge Vögel (Two Strange Characters)
1989 Coming Out
1986 Das Schulgespenst (The School Ghost)
1986 Pelle der Eroberer (Pelle the Conqueror, TV)
1986 Käthe Kollwitz  Bilder eines Lebens (Käthe Kollwitz: Images of a Life)
1986 Jorinde und Joringel (Jorinde and Joringel)
1983 Bockshorn (Taken for a Ride)
1983 Moritz in der Litfaßsäule (Moritz in the Advertising Pillar)
1982 Bahnwärter Thiel (Signalman Thiel, TV)
1981 Die Beunruhigung (Apprehension)
1974 Das Schilfrohr (The Reed, TV)

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