Famous German Film & Theater Personalities

Pick up any field randomly and you shall have a swarm of Germans who have contributed significantly to it. Be it as scholars or scientists, writer or artists, leaders or sportsperson, Germans would truly rank amongst the top ten. As such, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Germany has played an instrumental role in world history primarily because of its talented and outstandingly brilliant nationals. However, that is not all. Germans have contributed significantly as film and theatre artists as well. They have redefined the meaning of entertainment and left an indelible mark on films, theatre and television with their artistic brilliance. German artists have been working at different capacities in film and theatre production, as actors, directors, producers, artists, cameraman, cinematographer, choreographer, and action director. Some of them have even made their presence felt in Hollywood such as Maximilian Schell, Horst Buchholz, Christoph Waltz, Til Schweiger, Marlene Dietrich, Franka Potente, Diane Kruger and so on. Browse through section and find out more about famous German film and theatre personalities.

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

Vote for Your Favourite German Film & Theater Personalities

 1 

Michael Fassbender
6
Birthdate: April 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany

Michael Fassbender is a critically-acclaimed Irish-German actor best known for playing a sex addict in the psychological erotic drama film Shame. Apart from being an actor, Michael is also a well-known racing driver; he started his auto racing career in 2017 and currently races for Proton Competition in the European Le Mans Series.

 2 

Christoph Waltz
6
Birthdate: October 4, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Christoph Waltz is best known for his Academy Award-winning performances as Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds and Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained, both by Quentin Tarantino. Waltz had begun as a stage and TV actor in Germany. Some of his other notable projects are Spectre and Big Eyes.

 3 
Diane Kruger
(Actress)

Diane Kruger
11
Birthdate: July 15, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Algermissen, Germany

An aspiring ballerina, Diane Kruger, turned towards modelling after an injury and eventually made her way into the world of acting. The German-American actress bagged limelight with the movie Troy and later cemented her position with an acclaimed film performance in Inglourious Basterds. Her other notable works include drama series The Bridge and movies National Treasure and In the Fade.

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 4 

Marlene Dietrich
5
Birthdate: December 27, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: May 6, 1992
Marlene Dietrich initially performed on stage in Berlin and then shot to fame with The Blue Angel. She continued to rule Hollywood with films such as Morocco, Desire, and Shanghai Express. She helped German and French exiles during World War II. Openly bisexual, she was famous for her androgynous image.

 5 
Hans Zimmer
(Film score composer)

Hans Zimmer
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

German film score composer and record producer Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films so far. He developed a love for music as a child and started playing professionally when he was in his teens. He eventually ventured into films. He is the recipient of four Grammy Awards and three Classical BRIT Awards.

 6 
Zazie Beetz
(Actress)

Zazie Beetz
6
Birthdate: May 25, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mitte, Berlin, Germany

German-American actress, Zazie Beetz, is best known for her role in the FX comedy-drama series Atlanta. She became interested in acting while in high school and appeared in many community theater productions. She began her career with small roles in short films and established herself as a popular TV actress in a few years.

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 7 
Werner Herzog
(Film director)

Werner Herzog
4
Birthdate: September 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Werner Herzog, one of the prominent figures of the New German Cinema era, has directed films such as Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, and documentaries such as Grizzly Man. Named to TIME 100, he has written countless books and directed many operas. He was also seen playing The Client in The Mandalorian.
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 8 

Daniel Brühl
4
Birthdate: June 16, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Spanish-German actor Daniel Brühl began his career with the soap Verbotene Liebe. Raised trilingual, he is now fluent in six languages. Hollywood knows him best as Fredrick Zoller from Inglourious Basterds, while he first made waves with the German film Good Bye, Lenin! He later co-owned two bars.

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 9 

Alexander Dreymon
6
Birthdate: February 7, 1983
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Germany
Alexander Dreymon is best known for portraying Uhtred of Bebbanburg in The Last Kingdom and Luke Ramsey in American Horror Story: Coven. He has also been seen as Steiner in the war movie Resistance. He is trained in martial arts and is a polyglot who speaks German, English, and French.

 10 
LeVar Burton
(Actor known for his Roles in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Reading Rainbow")

LeVar Burton
7
Birthdate: February 16, 1957
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Best known for his performances as Kunta Kinte in Roots and Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, LeVar Burton is also known for his 23-year stint as the award-winning host of Reading Rainbow. Though he initially aspired to be a Catholic priest, he doesn’t believe in any religion anymore.

 11 
Pia Wurtzbach
(Model, Actress)

Pia Wurtzbach
4
Birthdate: September 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany

Pia Wurtzbach is a Filipino-German beauty queen who participated in the 64th Miss Universe pageant where she was crowned Miss Universe 2015. Wurtzbach is also a model, actress, and TV personality; she had to quit her showbusiness career temporarily to participate in the beauty pageant. She is also an advocate for gender equality and works towards raising awareness of HIV.

 12 
Claudia Schiffer
(German Supermodel and Actress)

Claudia Schiffer
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rheinberg, Germany
In 2020, Claudia Schiffer stunned fans with an Instagram picture in a lacy blue gown on her 50th birthday, looking not any less desirable than a 20-something. The German model had earlier soared to fame as the face of Chanel and has graced the cover of American Vogue 16 times.
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 13 
Nico
(Singer Know for Her Song 'The Velvet Underground's' debut album 'The Velvet Underground & Nico')

Nico
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: July 18, 1988

Nico was a German musician, singer, and songwriter. Her work continues to serve as an inspiration to several musicians like Björk, Morrissey, and the English rock band The Cure. In 2017, Susanna Nicchiarelli directed Nico's biographical film titled Nico, 1988. Also an actress, Nico appeared in many films, including Andy Warhol's experimental underground film Chelsea Girls.

 14 

Audra McDonald
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Audra McDonald is a singer and actress primarily known for her work on the Broadway stage. She has appeared in multiple musicals, operas, and dramas and is the recipient of six Tony Awards. She is a classically trained soprano and has performed with the Los Angeles Opera. She has also acted in many TV shows and films. 

 15 
Sibel Kekilli
(Actress)

Sibel Kekilli
3
Birthdate: June 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Heilbronn, Germany

Two-time Lola Award-winning German actor Sibel Kekilli is best known to international audiences as Shae from the iconic HBO series Game of Thrones. The Turkish-origin actor took up many odd jobs, working as a porn actor and a waitress, before stepping into mainstream movies and tasting success with Head-On.

 16 

Franka Potente
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Münster, Germany

Franka Potente is a German actress who took the entertainment world by storm with her performance in her debut film, After Five in the Forest Primeval, for which she won a Bavarian Film Award for Best Young Actress. After establishing herself in her native country, she moved on to Hollywood, appearing in multiple popular films. 

 17 

Nastassja Kinski
4
Birthdate: January 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Nastassja Kinski is a German actress who played a major role in the success of several European and American films throughout the 1980s and 1990s. One of the most popular German sex symbols of her generation, Kinski appeared in erotic films like Cat People. She is also renowned for her much-publicized personal life, which includes her relationship with Roman Polanski.

 18 
Mario Gómez
(Football Player)

Mario Gómez
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Riedlingen, Germany

Mario Gómez is a German former footballer who played for the Germany national football team between 2007 and 2018, during which he represented Germany in two FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships. He was also an important member of the popular club Bayern Munich as he helped the team secure several trophies, such as the UEFA Champions League.

 19 
Gerd Müller
(Football Player)

Gerd Müller
3
Birthdate: November 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nördlingen, Germany
Died: August 15, 2021
German footballer Gerd Müller, also known as "Bomber der Nation," had a successful stint with Bayern Munich. His score of 85 goals in a single year was broken by Lionel Messi after 4 decades. He scored the winning goal for West Germany in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

 20 
Heidi Klum
(The First German Model to Become a Victoria's Secret Angel)

Heidi Klum
5
Birthdate: June 1, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

German-American model and TV host, Heidi Klum has been featured on the cover of French, Portuguese, German, and Spanish Vogue magazines. She was the first German model to become a Victoria's Secret Angel. After a successful modeling career, she became a TV host in the 2000s. She is actively involved in philanthropic endeavors. 

 21 
Roland Emmerich
(Director Best Known as 'Master of Disaster' for His Science Fiction and Disaster Films)

Roland Emmerich
3
Birthdate: November 10, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany
German director/producer Roland Emmerich is best known for his blockbuster disaster/war films such as The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Patriot. The LGBT activist is also openly gay. He is also an avid art collector. He has also worked for women’s rights and environmental causes.

 22 

Elisabeth Rohm
3
Birthdate: April 28, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Elisabeth Röhm is best known as Kate Lockley from Angel and as Serena Southerlyn from Law & Order. Fans also loved in movies such as American Hustle. She was named to Maxim’s Hot 100 in 2002 and was also a skilled horseback rider earlier but quit it after an accident.

 23 
Leni Riefenstahl
(Film Director)

Leni Riefenstahl
3
Birthdate: August 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 8, 2003

Leni Riefenstahl was a German film director and actress best remembered for her role in producing Nazi propaganda. She made her directorial debut in 1932, becoming one of the few women to direct a movie during the Weimar Period. Riefenstahl is credited with directing two of the most technically innovative propaganda films of all time, Olympia and Triumph des Willens.

 24 

Arón Piper
3
Birthdate: March 29, 1997
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Arón Piper is a German-Spanish actor best known for his portrayal of Ander Muñoz in the Spanish thriller teen drama series, Elite. Apart from being an actor, Piper is also a musician. He joined hands with several other musicians to release a single titled Sigo. In 2020, he released another song titled Rosé.

 25 

Romy Schneider
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 29, 1982

German-French actor Romy Schneider began her career with the Heimatfilm genre of films as a teenager. She appeared as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the Austrian Sissi trilogy and in Ludwig. She is also remembered for her César Award-winning roles in Une histoire simple and L'important c'est d'aimer.

 26 

Benedikt Negro
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Xanten, Germany

Pantomime and clown Benedikt Negro hails from Germany and began performing at age 9, mastering tricks such as breathing fire, knife throwing, and juggling. Now, the lead attraction of O, the Cirque du Soleil water show, he has also recently worked with famed directors such as James Cameron.

 27 
Q'orianka Kilcher
(Actress Known for Her Role as Pocahontas in the 2005 Film the New World)

Q'orianka Kilcher
4
Birthdate: February 11, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Schweigmatt, Schopfheim, Germany

Q'orianka Kilcher is an American actress, activist, and singer. She is best known for playing important characters in films like The New World and Princess Kaiulani. As an activist, Kilcher has been visiting universities and colleges and delivering speeches at organizations like Amnesty International. 

 28 
Shawn Bradley
(Basketball player)

Shawn Bradley
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Landstuhl, West Germany

 29 

Brittney Powell
3
Birthdate: March 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Würzburg, Germany
Best known for her relationship with the late pint-sized actor Verne Troyer of Austin Powers fame, Brittney Powell gained popularity with Celebrity Wife-Swap. She has also appeared in single-episode or cameo roles in a number of series, such as Friends and Titans. She has a son from a previous marriage.

 30 

Klaus Kinski
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sopot, Poland
Died: November 23, 1991

Though German actor Klaus Kinski had gained fame with his stellar performances in the films of Werner Herzog, he had also been in the news for his eccentricity and volatile nature. He was once admitted to psychiatric facility for attempting to kill his sponsor, and his own daughter accused him of abuse.

 31 
Mike Vrabel
(American football coach)

Mike Vrabel
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, USA

 32 
Thomas Kretschmann
(Known for His Roles in the Movies: 'Stalingrad', 'The Pianist' and 'Downfall')

Thomas Kretschmann
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dessau, Dessau-Roßlau, Germany

While he initially trained to be an Olympic swimmer, Thomas Kretschmann turned to acting at age 25. Surprisingly, he was typecast as a Nazi officer and ended up playing one in 11 films, including The Pianist. He first gained fame with his Max Ophüls Prize-winning role in Der Mitwisser.

 33 
Luise Rainer
(Actress)

Luise Rainer
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1910
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Died: December 30, 2014

Luise Rainer, the first actor to win consecutive Academy Awards, had decided to make a career as an actor after watching a circus performance at age 6. A prominent stage actor in Germany, she secured an MGM movie deal and move to the U.S. during the Nazi regime.

 34 
Flula Borg
(German Actor, Musician and Youtuber)

Flula Borg
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Erlangen, Germany

Flula Borg is a German actor, comedian, musician, DJ, and YouTube personality. Despite being a German, Borg has managed to establish himself in the American film and TV industry; he has appeared in films like Pitch Perfect 2 and Bad Therapy. Popular on social media, Flula Borg was named in The Hollywood Reporter magazine's Top 25 Digital Stars list in 2015.

 35 
Toni Garrn
(Model, Actress)

Toni Garrn
3
Birthdate: July 7, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
German model/actor Toni Garrn gained recognition after signing with Calvin Klein and then modeled for Victoria's Secret. She played Reeva Steenkamp in Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer and also appeared in Spider-Man: Far from Home. An avid philanthropist, she is associated with the Because I Am a Girl campaign.

 36 

Tom Wlaschiha
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dohna, Germany

 37 
William Wyler
(Film director)

William Wyler
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: July 27, 1981

 38 
Sheryl Lee
(Actress)

Sheryl Lee
3
Birthdate: April 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany

Sheryl Lee is a German-born American actress best known for her work in film, stage, and television. Lee is well-known for playing Madeline Ferguson and Laura Palmer in the cult TV series Twin Peaks. Sheryl Lee is also renowned for her philanthropic efforts and activism. She has participated in campaigns to raise awareness and money for breast cancer.

 39 
Helena Zengel
(Actress)

Helena Zengel
3
Birthdate: June 10, 2008
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

When German actor Helena Zengel won the Lola Award for the Best Actress for System Crasher, she became the youngest performer to achieve the feat. She has also appeared with Tom Hanks in News of the World and earned a Golden Globe nomination for it.

 40 

Heike Makatsch
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany

The daughter of former German ice-hockey player Rainer Makatsch, Heike Makatsch initially apprenticed as a dressmaker. She began her entertainment career hosting shows such as Interaktiv. She later appeared in movies such as Love Actually and Am I Beautiful? She also earned an Emmy nomination for Margarete Steiff.

 41 

Max Riemelt
3
Birthdate: January 7, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: East Berlin, Germany

Max Riemelt is a German actor who achieved international recognition after portraying Wolfgang Bogdanow in the popular American science fiction TV series, Sense8. His performance in the series landed him opportunities to play important roles in German as well as international projects, such as Berlin Syndrome and World on Fire.

 42 
F. W. Murnau
(Film director)

F. W. Murnau
2
Birthdate: December 28, 1888
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bielefeld, Germany
Died: March 11, 1931

F. W. Murnau was a German film director best remembered for directing the 1922 silent horror film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, which is widely regarded as a masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema. He also made Hollywood films like Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, which is often counted among the best movies ever made by critics and film directors.

 43 
Florian Munteanu
(Actor known for his role of the boxer Viktor Drago in Creed 2, the son of former Soviet boxer Ivan Drago, from 1985's Rocky IV)

Florian Munteanu
0
Birthdate: October 13, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Würzburg, Germany

 44 
Katarina Witt
(Figure skater)

Katarina Witt
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Staaken, Berlin, Germany

 45 
Til Schweiger
(German Actor and the Country’s Most Successful Director)

Til Schweiger
5
Birthdate: December 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Til Schweiger is a German actor, filmmaker, and voice actor. Apart from playing important roles in German films, Schweiger has also appeared in several American films, such as Investigating Sex, King Arthur, and Already Dead. Til Schweiger is credited with establishing a production company named Barefoot Films.

 46 

Florence Kasumba
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

Ugandan-born German actor Florence Kasumba is best known as Ayo from the Marvel films. Apart from voicing Shenzi in the 2019 version of The Lion King, she has also appeared in Wonder Woman. The multilingual actor was first inspired to join the entertainment industry after watching a musical at 12.

 47 
Edda Göring
(Politician)

Edda Göring
3
Birthdate: June 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: December 21, 2018
Edda Göring was the only child of Nazi Party member Hermann Göring and actor Emmy Sonnemann. She grew up amidst luxury and received expensive art as gifts as a child, one of which, a painting of Madonna and Child by Lucas Cranach the Elder, dragged her into legal disputes.

 48 
Elke Sommer
(Actress)

Elke Sommer
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

 49 
Ernst Lubitsch
(Film director)

Ernst Lubitsch
2
Birthdate: January 29, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 30, 1947

 50 
Margot Frank
(Second World War victim)

Margot Frank
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Died: March 9, 1945