He appears primarily in European cinema, but has also acted in films such as The Godfather Part III and Iron Cross.
He was born in Bad Ischl, Austria, into a family of hoteliers. Berger initially trained and worked in this field, even though he had no interest in gastronomy or the hospitality industry. At age eighteen, he moved to London, England, where he did odd-jobs while taking acting classes. After studying languages in Perugia, Italy, Berger moved to Rome, Italy. (Picture: Luchino Visconti)
In 1964, he first met the film director Luchino Visconti, with whom he later had an intimate relationship. Visconti gave him his first acting role in the film Le streghe (The Witches, 1967) (in the episode "La Strega Bruciata Viva"), but he gained international prominence as the amoral Martin von Essenbeck in Visconti's The Damned (1969). In that film, in what is perhaps his best-known scene, he mimics Marlene Dietrich in the film The Blue Angel (1930). In Visconti's Ludwig (1972), Berger portrays Ludwig II of Bavaria from his blooming youth, to his dissolute final years. In 1974, Berger starred with Burt Lancaster in Visconti's Conversation Piece.
Berger has worked in television, most notably in the role of Peter De Vilbis in nine episodes (1983–1984) of the prime-time soap opera Dynasty (1981–1989), which he did only for money (he would later call it "crying on the way to the set but laughing on the way to the bank"). This was his last appearance in a television series.
The famous nude photo of Victor Skrebneski was taken in Chicago during the American promotional tour for "The Damned". Helmut Berger, out of this photo, did some Christmas cards, which he sent to his friends in the world. "Helmut Berger - A Life in Pictures" is published by Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag. 200 pages, 99.95 euros. © "HELMUT BERGER: A Life in Pictures Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag."
In the thriller film Iron Cross (2009) he played Shrager, an aging character believed to be an old SS commander responsible for murdering Jews during World War II.
Berger has starred in two films directed by Peter Kern – Blutsfreundschaft (shown at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival (2010), and Mörderschwestern (in post-production).
Helmut Berger - Ein Leben in Bildern by Paola-Ludovika Coriando
Publisher: Schwarzkopf + Schwarzkopf (November 1, 2012)
Language: German, English, French, Italian
Amazon: Helmut Berger - Ein Leben in Bildern
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