Famous Austrian Writers

Austria has been the hub of European culture and art. And much of that has been possible due some of its marvellously gifted nationals who have in their respective fields contributed outstandingly to this European country. From being the sanctum of legendary musicians to the nucleus of avant-garde philosophers, the hub of mighty intellectuals to the heart of prominent physicians, Austria has given the world some of the most noteworthy and strikingly remarkable people. Adding to its list of worthy nationals are Austrian writers. Historians, essayists, novelists, playwrights, poets and author – Austrian writers have excelled as them all and given the world some of the best known literary pieces that people have ever read. Interestingly, both Austrian men and women have equally contributed in the field of literature. Few of the renowned Austrian writers names include Alfred Hermann Fried, Ludwig Anzengruber, Bertha von Suttner and Ilse Aichinger. Peek-a-boo into this section to know about some of the most renowned Austrian writers, and their penned glories.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 3, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Prague, Austria-Hungary
Died: June 3, 1924

Considered one of the major authors of the 20th century, Franz Kafka was a Bohemian short-story writer and novelist. Franz Kafka is credited for being one of the earliest German-speaking authors to explore themes like absurdity, existential anxiety, and alienation. The term Kafkaesque is now widely used in the English language to explain those situations experienced by his characters.

 2 Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein.
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 26, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 29, 1951

Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is remembered for his works related to logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of language. He taught at the University of Cambridge for many years. He published only one book during his lifetime. Most of his manuscripts were collected later and published posthumously.

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 3 Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke.
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Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: December 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary
Died: December 29, 1926

Bohemian-Austrian poet and author Rainer Maria Rilke is best remembered for his numerous poetry collections and his only novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. His works contain metaphors, contradictions, and elements drawn from Greek mythology. Though most of his works were in German, he had also written in French.

 4 Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal.
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Famous As: Nazi Hunter
Birthdate: December 31, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Buczacz
Died: September 20, 2005
Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal survived four Nazi concentration camps, including the notorious Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp. He later devoted his life to finding out information about Nazi war criminals to bring them to trial. He wrote several books on his experiences, such as The Sunflower and I Chased Eichmann.
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 5 Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died: February 22, 1942

Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, and biographer. He was one of the most widely translated and most popular writers in the world at the height of his career. His best-known work is Sternstunden der Menschheit, in which he wrote about decisive historical events. His later years were very difficult and he died by suicide in 1942.

 6 Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: March 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Munich
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 7 Peter Handke

Peter Handke.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 6, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Griffen, Austria

Peter Handke is an Austrian novelist, poet, translator, playwright, screenwriter, and film director. One of the most respected personalities in Austria, Handke has won several prestigious awards over the course of his career. In 1973, he was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize. In 1987, he won the Vilenica International Literary Prize. In 2019, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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 8 Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie
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Famous As: Model
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Galkayo, Somalia

Somali model, writer, and women’s rights activist Waris Dirie is best known for her advocacy against female genital mutilation through the Desert Flower Foundation. Born into a poor nomadic family, she ran away at 13 to avoid marriage and then worked as a maid in London, before gaining a modeling contract.

 9 Ernst Gombrich

Ernst Gombrich
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Famous As: Art Historian
Birthdate: March 30, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 3, 2001

 10 Senta Berger

Senta Berger
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

It is believed Austrian actor Senta Berger was suspended by the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar, where she studied drama, after she bagged her first movie role. The three-time Bambi Award winner is known for her roles in films such as The Quiller Memorandum. She is also involved with peace and environmental activism.

 11 Alma Mahler

Alma Mahler
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: August 31, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 11, 1964

Alma Mahler, remembered as the wife of composer Gustav Mahler and the daughter of landscape painter Emil Schindler, initially studied art but later acquired skills as a pianist. However, Mahler discouraged her from composing after marriage. She later had other affairs and married architect Walter Gropius and author Franz Werfel.

 12 Joy Adamson

Joy Adamson
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Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: January 20, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Troppau, Austrian Silesia, Austria-Hungary, now Opava, Czech Republic
Died: January 3, 1980

Best known for her iconic book Born Free, which describes her experiences of raising a lion cub named Elsa, Joy Adamson was a noted Austro-Hungarian wildlife conservationist. She excelled in music and medicine in her younger days and later settled in Kenya with her third husband, conservationist George Adamson.

 13 Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 27, 1836
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 9, 1895

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch lent his name to the term masochism, a form of sexual deviation. Best known for his novel Venus in Furs, one of his rare books that have been translated in English, he depicted Galician romance and fantasies. He spent his final years in a mental asylum.

 14 Bertha von Suttner

Bertha von Suttner.
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Famous As: Pacifist, First Woman to Receive the Nobel Peace Prize
Birthdate: June 9, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Prague, Bohemia, Austrian Empire
Died: June 21, 1914

Once a governess of the four daughters of the affluent Suttner family, Bertha von Suttner later married the sisters’ elder brother, Baron Arthur Gundaccar von Suttner. The Austrian novelist was known for her peace activism, which made her the first female to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

 15 Muhammad Asad

Muhammad Asad
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 2, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: February 20, 1992

Austro-Hungarian journalist Leopold Weiss was a descendant of rabbis and ran away from home in his teens, taking up odd jobs, before finally becoming a journalist in Germany. His work took him to the Middle East, where he converted to Islam and adopted the name Muhammad Asad.

 16 Thomas Bernhard

Thomas Bernhard
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Playwright, Screenwriter, Poet
Birthdate: February 9, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heerlen
Died: February 12, 1989

Thomas Bernhard was born to an unwed mother in Holland and spent a lot of his adolescence in hospitals due to his chronic lung disease, which eventually claimed his life at age 58. He excelled in music and drama and gained fame for his controversial and pessimistic novels and plays.

 17 Elfriede Jelinek

Elfriede Jelinek.
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Famous As: Novelist & Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Birthdate: October 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mürzzuschlag

Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian novelist and playwright who was honored with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature. Widely regarded as the most prominent playwright of the German language, Elfriede Jelinek has several prestigious awards and honors under her belt.

 18 Christine Kaufmann

Christine Kaufmann
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 11, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mitterberg-Sankt Martin, Austria
Died: March 28, 2017

 19 August Kubizek

August Kubizek
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Famous As: Conductor, Painter, Writer
Birthdate: August 3, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Linz
Died: October 23, 1956

 20 Arthur Schnitzler

Arthur Schnitzler
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: May 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 21, 1931

Born to a doctor, Arthur Schnitzler had initially followed in his father’s footsteps and practiced medicine, gaining expertise in psychiatry. He later made a mark as an author and playwright with works such as Anatol and None but the Brave, which became hallmarks of modernism and the decadent movement.

 21 Robert Musil

Robert Musil
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Famous As: Writer, Librarian, Novelist, Playwright, Screenwriter, Essayist
Birthdate: November 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Klagenfurt
Died: April 15, 1942

Best remembered for his incomplete novel The Man Without Qualities, Austrian-German novelist Robert Musil had worked as a librarian, editor, and journalist and was also a qualified mechanical engineer. He had also served in the army during World War I but mostly gained fame as a modernist writer.

 22 Hermann Oberth

Hermann Oberth
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Famous As: Physicist, Engineer, Essayist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: June 25, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sibiu
Died: December 28, 1989

 23 Otto Weininger

Otto Weininger
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Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, Psychologist
Birthdate: April 3, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: October 4, 1903

 24 Gitta Sereny

Gitta Sereny
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Famous As: Biographer
Birthdate: March 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 14, 2012

Known for her persistent researches on some of history’s most reviled characters, Gitta Sereny was an investigative journalist and author of five biographical works that attempted to make sense of their crimes. Notable among her works are Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth and The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered.  

 25 Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: September 2, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brody, Ukraine
Died: May 27, 1939

 26 Viktor Schauberger

Viktor Schauberger
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Famous As: Forester, Inventor, Writer
Birthdate: June 30, 1885
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Schwarzenberg am Böhmerwald
Died: September 25, 1958

 27 Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Nikolaus Harnoncourt
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Famous As: Conductor, Musician, Choir director, Viol player, Cellist, Writer, Composer
Birthdate: December 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 5, 2016

Nikolaus Harnoncourt began his musical career as a classical cellist and grew up to be one of the finest conductors of Austria. He ruled the music scene with the ensemble Concentus Musicus, focusing on historical performance, and later also worked with modern ensembles such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

 28 Hans Holzer

Hans Holzer
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 26, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 26, 2009

 29 Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Hugo von Hofmannsthal
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Famous As: Novelist, Librettist, Poet, Playwright, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: February 1, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: July 15, 1929

Known for his lyrical poetry and plays, Austrian author Hugo von Hofmannsthal had initially studied law and philology but later devoted his life to writing. His collaborative works with composer Richard Strauss included libretti for many of his operas, such as The Cavalier of the Rose and Arabella.

 30 Karl Kraus

Karl Kraus
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 28, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jicin, Czechia
Died: June 12, 1936

Initially aspiring to be a lawyer, Austrian writer Karl Kraus later deviated to philosophy and German literature before quitting studies altogether. He had also been a stage performer but later made his mark as one of the finest aphorists and playwrights in German history, with works such as Nights.

 31 Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka
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Famous As: Painter, Playwright, Writer, Poet, University teacher
Birthdate: March 1, 1886
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pöchlarn
Died: February 22, 1980

 32 Victor Gruen

Victor Gruen
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Famous As: Architect, Writer
Birthdate: July 18, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: February 14, 1980

Born in Austria, architect Victor Gruen had his own firm in Vienna but moved to the U.S. after Germany invaded his country. He then launched Victor Gruen Associates and revolutionized the shopping experience of Americans by pioneering the shopping center and mall designs of the country.

 33 Jaroslav Hašek

Jaroslav Hašek
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Famous As: Writer, Comedian
Birthdate: April 30, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Prague
Died: January 3, 1923

Initially a bank clerk, Jaroslav Hašek later dedicated his life to writing. The Czech author is best known for his iconic historical satire The Good Soldier Schweik. He had also been imprisoned as a Russian prisoner of war during World War I and was known for his bohemian life.

 34 Ingeborg Bachmann

Ingeborg Bachmann
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 25, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Klagenfurt, Austria
Died: October 17, 1973

Ingeborg Bachmann completed her PhD and worked as an editor and scriptwriter before plunging into full-time writing. The Gruppe 47 member was known for depicting the trauma of women characters who had failed in relationships. She is best remembered for her poems and her lyrical novel Malina.

 35 Walther von der Vogelweide

Walther von der Vogelweide
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: 1170 AD
Birthplace: Austria
Died: 1230 AD

One of the finest German lyric poets of the Middle Ages, Walther von der Vogelweide was a regular at various royal courts. His works mostly include love songs such as Under der linden, apart from elegies and religious poems. He had also been given a small fief by Frederick II.

 36 Carl Djerassi

Carl Djerassi
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Famous As: Chemist, Writer, University teacher, Science fiction writer, Scientist
Birthdate: October 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: January 31, 2015

Known as the father of the pill, Carl Djerassi is best remembered for chemically synthesizing a steroid mimic of the hormone progesterone, which paved the way for the production of contraceptive pills.  That apart, he made important contributions to the synthesis of antihistamines, pest control, mass spectrometry etc. Also a successful author, he wrote several non-fictions, novels, dramas and poems.

 37 Karl Maria Wiligut

Karl Maria Wiligut
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Famous As: Writer, Occultist
Birthdate: December 10, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: January 3, 1946

Following a 40-year stint with the German military, Karl Maria Wiligut retired to practice occult studies. He believed he belonged to a royal lineage and was later sent to an asylum for his schizophrenic beliefs. He later became a Nazi lieutenant-brigadier and joined Heinrich Himmler’s inner circle.

 38 Felix Salten

Felix Salten
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 6, 1869
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pest, Budapest, Hungary
Died: October 8, 1945

Best known for penning the children’s classic Bambi, Felix Salten was forced to flee Vienna during the Nazi regime and eventually settled in Switzerland. His books were banned in Austria after Germany annexed the country, but that didn’t dent his popularity as an author. He was a skilled hunter, too.

 39 Georg Trakl

Georg Trakl
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 3, 1887
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria
Died: November 3, 1914

Georg Trakl had had a tumultuous early life, having been addicted to drugs, apart from being attracted to his own sister. He initially aspired to be a pharmacist but later became one of Austria’s finest elegists. The Expressionist poet wrote masterpieces such as Grodek. He died of a drug overdose.

 40 Daniel Kehlmann

Daniel Kehlmann
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 13, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Best known for his bestselling novel Tyll, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is also being made into a Netflix series, German author Daniel Kehlmann is the son of TV director Michael Kehlmann and actor Dagmar Mettler. His other notable works include Measuring the World and Fame.

 41 Jean Améry

Jean Améry
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Famous As: Writer, Philosopher
Birthdate: October 31, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: October 17, 1978

Jean Améry went from being a prisoner at the Auschwitz labor camp to being one of the finest essayists of the post-war era. His best-known work, At the Mind's Limits, depicts his experiences during World War II. He eventually committed suicide by consuming sleeping pills in a Salzburg hotel.

 42 Joseph Mohr

Joseph Mohr
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Famous As: Composer, Writer
Birthdate: December 11, 1792
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Salzburg
Died: December 4, 1848

 43 Anton Zeilinger

Anton Zeilinger
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Famous As: Physicist, Quantum physicist, Academic, University teacher, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: May 20, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ried im Innkreis

 44 Alfred Kubin

Alfred Kubin
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Famous As: Writer, Painter, Etcher
Birthdate: April 10, 1877
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bohemia
Died: August 20, 1959

 45 Eric Wolf

Eric Wolf
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Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: February 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: March 6, 1999

 46 Paul Watzlawick

Paul Watzlawick
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Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Sociologist, University teacher, Non-fiction writer, Communication scholar
Birthdate: July 25, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villach
Died: March 31, 2007

Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher, specializing in family therapy and communication theory. The most influential figure in the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute, he worked extensively on how communication is effected within families and proposed Interactional View Theory. Paul Watzlawick authored 22 books and more than 150 articles and book chapters. His books have been translated into 80 languages

 47 Hermann Broch

Hermann Broch
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Famous As: Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: November 1, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: May 30, 1951

Born into an affluent family, Hermann Broch sold his family’s textile factory to focus on studying physics, math, and philosophy. Mostly known for his literary works such as The Sleepwalkers, he had ventured into writing only after 40. He was imprisoned by the Nazis and later fled to the U.S.

 48 Ernst Fuchs

Ernst Fuchs
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 13, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 9, 2015

 49 Ulrich Seidl

Ulrich Seidl
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Writer
Birthdate: November 24, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna

Austrian director-producer Ulrich Seidl is best known for his iconic films Dog Days and Paradise: Love. He uses a distinctive documentary style to make his movies more authentic. Born into a Catholic family, he had initially aspired to be a priest and had also studied journalism, before stepping into films.

 50 Gustav Meyrink

Gustav Meyrink
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Famous As: Writer, Translator, Novelist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: January 19, 1868
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: December 4, 1932