Christoph Waltz filmography and biography
Date of birth: 4 October 1956, Vienna, Austria
Christoph Waltz biography
Christoph Waltz was born to Elisabeth Urbancic, a costume designer, and
Johannes Waltz, a stage builder. He has 3 siblings. He was born into a
theater family. His grandmother was the Viennese Burgtheater actress
Maria Mayen, and his step-grandfather was fellow Burgtheater actor
Christoph attended the Theresianium and Billrothstrasse in Vienna. Upon graduation, he attended the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar before going to New York to the Lee Strasberg Institute. While in New York, Christoph met his first wife, and moved back to Vienna, then to London.
During the 80s, Christoph worked primarily in theater, commuting from his home in London to Germany. Slowly he began to work in TV, taking one-off roles on series, and TV movies. Film roles soon followed, however, attempts to break into English-speaking film and TV were unsuccessful. Christoph has stated he is grateful to have made a living and supported his family through acting. For thirty years he worked steadily, tirelessly, in this manner.
It was not until he met Quentin Tarantino that his career in Hollywood took off. The role of Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds catapulted Christoph from a lifetime working in German TV/film to the new life of an international superstar, Academy Award winning actor. He won 27 awards for his performance as Hans Landa, including the Cannes prix d'interpretation Masculin for 2009, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and the BAFTA Best Supporting Actor award.
Christoph resides in Berlin and Los Angeles. His partner is the costume builder Judith Holste.
Christoph Waltz trivia
- Is fluent in German, English, and French. Is skilled at mimicking Italian speech.
- Made his stage debut at the Schauspielhaus in Zurich (1982).
- Is divorced from his first wife. They have three adult children.
- Studied acting at the Max Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna and the 'Lee Strasberg' Theater Institute in New York.
- Son of set designers Elisabeth Urbancic and Johannes Waltz.
- His grandparents were actors.
- His son from his first marriage is a rabbi, his daughter from his first marriage is an architect.
- Lives in London, but his longtime companion, costume designer 'Judith Holste', and their daughter live in Berlin.
- Is one of 8 actors to have won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award for the same performance. The others in chronological order are Geoffrey Rush for Shine, Jamie Foxx for Ray (2004/I), Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote, Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland, Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men, Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood, and Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight.
- Was originally cast as Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, but dropped out of the project in order to film Water for Elephants. Viggo Mortensen was later cast instead.
- The first and, thus far, only actor to win in Oscar for acting in a Quentin Tarantino film.
- His first wife was from New York and Jewish.
- Despite being born in Austria, he was born with German citizenship (and kept it all his life) since his father was German.
Christoph Waltz quotes
- In Europe, everybody would say, 'Well, they just want to squeeze you like a lemon.' Well, yeah! But, you know, if I have the juice, why shouldn't they? -- on hoping to continue to work in Hollywood
- Nobody's talking about that. I get interest coming my way from many different directions. I'd hate to pigeon-hole myself. The variety is what's interesting. -- on being typecast.
- I know what I can contribute. And that's a very limited, very specific unit, whether it's a big movie, a small movie, a German movie, an American movie. That's the advantage I have over a 25-year-old. I've had the chance to understand what it is I do.
- The one advantage of having grown up in the business is that you don't romanticize it. 'Oh, isn't it wonderful?' Blah, blah, blah. No, it isn't! I've never romanticized it. But on the other hand, the conviction, the dedication that you see here, is tremendous. It would be awful if the whole business consisted of grouchy farts like me.
- The better the dog, the busier you have to keep him. I'm arrogant and blase enough to consider myself a very good dog. You take pride in what you're doing, in your craft, and all of that, but -- I wouldn't say I resigned myself to mediocrity, not at all, but I started to accept that there might be an ideal you strive for (and) never realize. -- on advice a dog trainer once gave him that can apply to him as well.
- To put aside what I know about the topic. Because it was irrelevant. Growing up in that area, you don't hear much about the French Revolution or the Egyptians or the Seven Year War. You hear about the Nazi era. But it was irrelevant to the part and unnecessary and would have been a bad obstacle. -- on the toughest aspect of preparing for "Inglourious Basterds"
- It's frustrating. Even though I agree with all of you [other actors being interviewed], I have a less romantic and idealistic approach to acting. Over there (in Germany), the business is based on mediocrity. On a high level, admittedly, but mediocrity. You reach a certain level, beyond which you will not go. Not just in career but in challenges and opportunity. It's interesting for the specific issue of how to cope with an actor's life. To lead an actor's life. What do you do if you have a stretch of five years where you only get mediocre offers and nothing to sink your teeth into? That's where it is difficult. Becoming an actor is one thing. Being an actor is entirely different.
- It's the result that makes the art, not necessarily the process that leads to it. So when Hilary plays Bach, that's the music (but) what you perceive is the art. Is she considering herself as an artist? I don't think so. I think she just puts herself into the craft, into each individual note and ties them together in order to arrive at what the emotion might be. That's one of the biggest problems with the actor. The piece of art -- the person, the performance, everything that leads up to it -- is so difficult to separate from each other.
- (His Oscar acceptance speech for "Inglourious Basterds") Oscar and PenÃ©lope [Cruz], that's an Ã¼ber bingo! I always wanted to discover some new continent and I thought I had to go this way, and then I was introduced to Quentin Tarantino, who was putting together an expedition that was equipped by Harvey Weinstein and Lawrence Bender and David Linde, and he put this script in front of me and he said, "This is where we're going, but we're going the other way." So Brad Pitt helped me on board and Diane Kruger was there Melanie Laurent and Denis Menochet and Bob Richardson and Sally Menke and Adam Schweitzer and Lisa Kasteler. Everybody helped me find a place. Universal and The Weinstein Company and ICM and Quentin, with his unorthodox methods of navigation, this fearless explorer, took this ship across and brought it in with flying colors and that's why I'm here. And this is your welcoming embrace and there's no way I can ever thank you enough, but I can start right now. Thank you.
- Becoming an actor is like becoming a father. It's not hard to become one. Making a life of it is the challenge.
- If the advice to 'get out' is too late, then my advice would always be read, go to museums, go to concerts. Don't learn life from movies or television.