Wolfgang Heinz was born in Pilsen, Austria-Hungary, on May 18, 1900. He started his acting career at the age of 17. Although he never attended acting school, he was given roles at various German theaters before he joined Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theater ensemble in 1918. He also played at the Prussian Staatstheater, the Berliner Kammerspiele and the Kammerspiele in Hamburg. His film debut was in Joseph Delmont’s Die Geächteten in 1919. He also played in F.W. Murnau’s silent film Nosferatu.
After the Nazis took power in 1933, Heinz was dismissed because he was a member of the German Communist Party and Jewish. He went into exile in Holland, then moved to Great Britain and Vienna, before he settled in Switzerland. Here he worked at the Schauspielhaus Zurich. In 1938, he started working as a theater director and co-founded the Swiss Free Austrian Movement. After WWII, he emigrated to the Soviet-occupied part of Vienna. Together with Karl Paryla and Emil Stöhr, Heinz founded the workers’ theater Neue Theater at the Scala in Vienna, in 1948; this workers’ theater closed after the Soviets withdrew from Austria.
Wolfgang Heinz moved to East Germany at the beginning of the 1950s and joined the Deutsches Theater in East Berlin as an actor and director. He played countless classic leading roles and became best known for his performances in plays such as “King Lear,” “Life of Galileo,” “Wallenstein,” “Nathan the Wise” and “Professor Mamlock.” In the Berliner Kammerspiele performance of this last play in 1959, he played opposite Ursula Burg (as Ellen Mamlock), just as in Konrad Wolf’s 1960 film.
Heinz was a cast member of the East German Academy of the Arts production Die Ermittlung based on Peter Weiss’ oratorio, which featured elements from the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial that took place from 1963 to 1965. Heinz also became known for his leading roles in films; one of his most outstanding performances was as Professor Mamlock in Wolf’s DEFA production.
From 1959 to 1962, Heinz was the director of the National Theater School in Berlin, and he held the position of Deutsches Theater manager from 1963 to 1969. Wolfgang Heinz—one of Germany’s most important actors—died in East Berlin on October 30, 1984.
|1979||Die Rache des Kapitäns Mitchell (The Revenge of Captain Mitchell, TV)|
|1977||Vietnam 2 – Der erste Reis danach (Vietnam 2: And Then the First Rice, narrator)|
|1974||Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein (I Was, I Am, I Will Be, narrator)|
|1973||Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz (The Naked Man on the Sports Field)|
|1972||Das goldene Ding (The Golden Thing, TV)|
|1966||Der kleine Prinz (The Little Prince, TV)|
|1966||Die Ermittlung (The Investigation, TV)|
|1963||Das russische Wunder, Teil 1 (The Russian Wonder, Part 1, narrator)|
|1963||Das russische Wunder, Teil 2 (The Russian Wonder, Part 2, narrator)|
|1958||Geschwader Fledermaus (The Bat Squadron)|
|1958||Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank, TV)|
|1954||Der Komödiant von Wien (The Viennese Comedian)|
|1932||Ein blonder Traum (A Blond Dream)|
|1920||Die entfesselte Menschheit (Unfettered Humanity)|
|1919||Die Geächteten (The Outlaws)|