Kinski at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival
18 October 1926
|Died||23 November 1991 65) (aged|
Lagunitas, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Gislinde Kühbeck (1952–1955; divorced; 1 child)|
Brigitte Ruth Tocki (1960–1971; divorced; 1 child)
Minhoi Geneviève Loanic (1971–1979; divorced; 1 child)
|Children||Pola, Nastassja and Nikolai Kinski|
Klaus Kinski (German: [klaʊ̯s kɪns.ki] (
Kinski was a controversial figure, and some of his tantrums on set were filmed in Herzog's documentary My Best Fiend .He is the father of Pola, Nastassja, and Nikolai Kinski, born of three different marriages. They have all become actors and have worked in Germany and the United States, in film and TV.
Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski was born to German nationals in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland) in 1926. His father, Bruno Nakszynski, was a failed opera singer turned pharmacist; his mother, Susanne (née Lutze), was a nurse and the daughter of a local pastor.Klaus had three older siblings: Inge, Arne and Hans-Joachim.
Due to the Great Depression, the family was unable to make a living in Danzig and moved to Berlin in 1931, where they also struggled. They settled in a flat in the Wartburgstraße 3, in the district of Schöneberg, and took German citizenship.In 1936, Kinski attended the Prinz-Heinrich-Gymnasium in Schöneberg.
During the Second World War, Kinski was conscripted at the age of 17 into the German Wehrmacht some time in 1943, and served with the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) as an elite paratrooper (Fallschirmjäger).He saw no action until the winter of 1944, when his unit was transferred to the Netherlands. He was captured by the British on his second day of combat.
Kinski gave a different version of events in his 1988 autobiography. He said that he made a conscious decision to desert; he had been captured by the Germans, court-martialed as a deserter and sentenced to death, but he escaped and hid in the woods. A British patrol opened fire on him, he was wounded in the arm and they took him captive. After being treated for his injuries and interrogated, Kinski was transferred to a prisoner of war camp in Britain. The ship transporting him was torpedoed by a German U-boat, but arrived safely. He was held at the prisoner of war Camp 186 in Berechurch Hall in Colchester, Essex.
There he played his first roles on stage, taking part in variety shows intended to maintain morale among the prisoners.By May 1945, at the end of the war in Europe, the German POWs were anxious to return home. Kinski had heard that sick prisoners were to be returned first, and tried to qualify by standing outside naked at night, drinking urine and eating cigarettes. He remained healthy however, and was finally returned to Germany in 1946, after spending a year and four months in captivity.
Arriving in Berlin, he learned his father had died during the war, and his mother had been killed in an Allied air attack on the city.
After his return to Germany, Kinski started out as an actor,first at a small touring company in Offenburg, where he used his newly adopted name of Klaus Kinski. In 1946, he was hired by the renowned Schlosspark-Theater in Berlin. The next year, he was fired by the manager due to his unpredictable behavior. Other companies followed, but his unconventional and emotionally volatile behavior regularly got him into trouble.
For three months in 1955, Kinski lived in the same boarding house as a 13-year-old Werner Herzog, who would later direct him in a number of films. In the 1999 documentary My Best Fiend , Herzog described how Kinski locked himself in the communal bathroom for 48 hours and broke everything in the room to pieces.
In March 1956, he made a single guest appearance at Vienna's Burgtheater in Goethe's Torquato Tasso . Although respected by his colleagues, among them Judith Holzmeister, and cheered by the audience, Kinski did not gain a permanent contract. The Burgtheater's management became aware of the actor's earlier difficulties in Germany. He unsuccessfully tried to sue the company.
Living jobless in Vienna, Kinski reinvented himself as a monologist and spoken word artist.He presented the prose and verse of François Villon, William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, amongst others. He established himself as an actor touring Austria, Germany, and Switzerland with his shows.
Kinski's first film role was a small part in the 1948 film Morituri . He appeared in several German Edgar Wallace movies, and had bit parts in the American war films Decision Before Dawn (1951), A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958), and The Counterfeit Traitor (1962). In Alfred Vohrer's Die toten Augen von London (1961), his character refused any personal guilt for his evil deeds and claimed to have only followed the orders given to him. Kinski's performance reflected post-war Germany's reluctance to take responsibility for what had happened during World War II.
During the 1960s and 1970s, he appeared in various European exploitation film genres, as well as more acclaimed works such as Doctor Zhivago (1965), featured in a supporting role as an anarchist prisoner on his way to the Gulag.[ citation needed ]
He relocated to Italy during the late 1960s, and had roles in numerous Spaghetti Westerns, including For a Few Dollars More (1965), A Bullet for the General (1966), The Great Silence (1968), Twice A Judas (1969), and A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975). In 1977, he starred as the guerrillero Wilfried Böse in Operation Thunderbolt , based on the events of the 1976 Operation Entebbe.[ citation needed ]
Kinski's work with director Werner Herzog brought him international recognition. They made five films together: Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), Woyzeck (1978), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Cobra Verde (1987). Despite their collaborations, Herzog had threatened, on occasion, to murder Kinski. In one incident, Kinski was said to have been saved by his dog who attacked Herzog as he crept up to supposedly burn down the actor's house.Herzog has refused to comment on his numerous other plans to kill Kinski. However, he did pull a gun on Kinski on the set of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, after the actor threatened to walk off the set.
In 1980, Kinski refused the lead villain role of Major Arnold Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark , telling director Steven Spielberg, "This script is a yawn-making, boring pile of shit" [ citation needed ]and "moronically shitty". Kinski would go on to play Kurtz, an Israeli intelligence officer, in The Little Drummer Girl , a feature film by George Roy Hill in 1984. It also starred Diane Keaton as Charlie.
Kinski co-starred as an evil killer from the future in a 1987 Sci-Fi based TV film Timestalkers with William Devane and Lauren Hutton. His last film (which he wrote and directed) was Kinski Paganini (1989), in which he played the legendary violinist Niccolò Paganini.[ citation needed ]
Kinski was married three times. He married his first wife, singer Gislinde Kühlbeck, in 1952, the couple had a daughter Pola Kinski. They divorced in 1955. Five years later he married actress Ruth Brigitte Tocki. They divorced in 1971. Their daughter was Nastassja Kinski, born in January 1961.He married his third and final wife, model Minhoi Geneviève Loanic in 1971. Their son Nikolai Kinski was born in 1976. They divorced in 1979.
Kinski published his autobiography, All I Need Is Love , in 1988 (reprinted in 1996 as Kinski Uncut). The book infuriated many and prompted his second daughter Nastassja Kinski to file a libel suit against him, which she afterward withdrew.
In 1950, Kinski stayed in a psychiatric hospital for three days because he stalked his theatrical sponsor, on whom he had a one-sided crush, and eventually tried to strangle her. Medical records from the period listed a preliminary diagnosis of schizophrenia but the conclusion was psychopathy(antisocial personality disorder). Around this time Kinski became unable to secure film roles, and in 1955 he attempted suicide twice according to one source.
In 2013, more than 20 years after her father's death, Pola Kinski published an autobiography entitled Kindermund (or From a Child's Mouth), in which she claimed her father had sexually abused her from age five to 19.
In an interview published by the German tabloid Bild on 13 January 2013, Kinski's younger daughter, Nastassja, Pola's half-sister, said their father would embrace her in a sexual manner when she was 4–5 years old, but never had sex with her. Nastassja has expressed support for Pola and said that she was always afraid of their father, whom she described as an unpredictable tyrant.
Kinski died on 23 November 1991 of a sudden heart attack at his home in Lagunitas, California.His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
Of his three children, only his son Nikolai attended the funeral.
Werner Herzog, in his 1999 documentary about Kinski entitled My Best Fiend (although more accurately translated My Favorite Enemy), claimed Kinski had fabricated much of his autobiography, and told of the difficulties in their working relationship.
Director David Schmoeller released a short 1999 film entitled Please Kill Mr. Kinski, which examined the stories of Kinski's erratic and disruptive behavior on the set of his 1986 film Crawlspace . The film features behind-the-scenes footage of Kinski's various confrontations with director and crewmembers, along with Schmoeller's account of the events.
In 2006, Christian David published the first comprehensive biography of Kinski, based on newly discovered archived material, personal letters and interviews with the actor's friends and colleagues. Peter Geyer published a paperback book of essays on Kinski's life and work.
Nastassja Aglaia Kinski is a German actress and former model who has appeared in more than 60 films in Europe and the United States. Her worldwide breakthrough was with Stay as You Are (1978). She then came to global prominence with her Golden Globe Award-winning performance as the title character in the Roman Polanski-directed film Tess (1979). Other notable films in which she acted include the erotic horror film Cat People (1982), the Wim Wenders dramas Paris, Texas (1984) and Faraway, So Close! (1993), and the biographical drama film, An American Rhapsody (2001). Kinski is fluent in four languages: German, English, French and Italian. She is the daughter of German actor Klaus Kinski.
Werner Herzog is a German film director, screenwriter, actor, and opera director. Herzog is considered a figure of the New German Cinema. His films often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God, known in the UK as Aguirre, Wrath of God, is a 1972 epic historical drama film produced, written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by West German kosmische band Popol Vuh. The story follows the travels of Spanish soldier Lope de Aguirre, who leads a group of conquistadores down the Amazon River in South America in search of the legendary city of gold, El Dorado.
Fitzcarraldo is a 1982 West German epic adventure-drama film written and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski as the title character. It portrays would-be rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an Irishman known in Peru as Fitzcarraldo, who is determined to transport a steamship over a steep hill in order to access a rich rubber territory in the Amazon Basin. The film is derived from the historic events of Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald and his real-life feat of transporting a disassembled steamboat over the Isthmus of Fitzcarrald.
Nosferatu the Vampyre is a 1979 horror film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Its original German title is Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. The film is set primarily in 19th-century Wismar, Germany and Transylvania, and was conceived as a stylistic remake of F. W. Murnau's 1922 German Dracula adaptation Nosferatu. The picture stars Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula, Isabelle Adjani as Lucy Harker, Bruno Ganz as Jonathan Harker, and French artist-writer Roland Topor as Renfield. There are two different versions of the film, one in which the actors speak English, and one in which they speak German.
Cobra Verde is a 1987 German drama film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski, in their fifth and final collaboration. It was based upon Bruce Chatwin's 1980 novel The Viceroy of Ouidah. The film depicts the life of a fictional slave trader. It was filmed on location in Brazil, Colombia and Ghana.
Kinski may refer to:
My Best Fiend is a 1999 German documentary film written and directed by Werner Herzog, about his tumultuous yet productive relationship with German actor Klaus Kinski. It was released on DVD in 2000 by Anchor Bay.
All I Need Is Love: A Memoir is the autobiography of the German actor Klaus Kinski first published in 1988. It was withdrawn from publication then, after the author's death, retranslated, retitled, and republished in 1996 as Kinski Uncut: The Autobiography of Klaus Kinski.
The Pongo de Mainique is a water gap (canyon) of the Urubamba River in Peru. Inside the water gap, the river is constricted to a width of 45 metres (50 yd). The Pongo de Mainique is 3 kilometres (2 mi) long. The elevation of the river is approximately 450 metres (1,480 ft). The steep cliffs on each side of the river rise sharply to mountains with elevations of more than 1,200 metres (3,900 ft).
Rescue Dawn is a 2006 American epic war drama film written and directed by Werner Herzog, based on an adapted screenplay written from his 1997 documentary film Little Dieter Needs to Fly. The film stars Christian Bale and is based on the true story of German-American pilot Dieter Dengler, who was shot down and captured by villagers sympathetic to the Pathet Lao during an American military campaign in the Vietnam War. Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Pat Healy, and Toby Huss also have principal roles. The film project, which had initially come together during 2004, began shooting in Thailand in August 2005. Despite critical acclaim, the film was a box office failure.
Florian Fricke was a German musician who started his professional career with electronic music using the Moog synthesizer within the krautrock group Popol Vuh. His music and that of the band however soon evolved in a completely different direction, and he almost completely abandoned synthesizers in favor of the acoustic piano.
Woyzeck[ˈvɔʏtsɛk] is a 1979 German drama film written, produced and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski and Eva Mattes. It is an adaptation of the unfinished play Woyzeck by German dramatist Georg Büchner.
Kinski Paganini, also known simply as Paganini, is a 1989 Italian-French biographical film written, directed by and starring Klaus Kinski. The story is based on the life and career of composer and virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini. It was Kinski's final film before his death in 1991.
Nanhoï Nikolai Kinski is a French-American film actor, who has also done work in television and on stage. He was born in Paris, and grew up in California. Currently residing in Berlin, he has acted primarily in American and German films, and speaks English, German, and French. He is a citizen of both the U.S. and France.
Crawlspace is a 1986 American horror thriller film starring Klaus Kinski as Karl Guenther, the crazed son of a Nazi doctor obsessed with trapping young women and slowly torturing them to death, alongside Talia Balsam, Barbara Whinnery, and Tané McClure. It is written and directed by David Schmoeller, and later became infamous due to the on-set conflicts between Schmoeller and Kinski, with claims that producer Roberto Bessi attempted to have Kinski murdered due to his continued hostility towards the crew.
Portrait Werner Herzog is an autobiographical short film by Werner Herzog made in 1986. Herzog tells stories about his life and career.
Pola Kinski is a German actress. The daughter of the German actor Klaus Kinski, she published her autobiography in 2013.
David Schmoeller is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is notable for directing several full-length theatrical horror films including Tourist Trap (1979), The Seduction (1982), Crawlspace (1986), Catacombs (1988), Puppet Master (1989), and Netherworld (1992). In May, 2012, Schmoeller was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre, Brazil where his new feature film, 2 Little Monsters (2012) was screened along with his other notable films.
Werner Herzog is a German film director, screenwriter, author, actor, and opera director. Herzog is a figure of the New German Cinema. His films often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature.
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