Harry Baur

Active - 1915 - 1942  |   Born - Apr 12, 1880   |   Died - Apr 8, 1943   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

If not the greatest character actor of his time, French stage and film star Harry Baur was certainly one of the most beloved. Baur was 24 when he made his Paris stage debut, and 30 when he made his earliest film appearance in Shylock (1910). Hitting his cinematic stride in the 1930s, Baur played almost as many famous factual and fictional personages than George Arliss and Paul Muni combined. He starred as Jean Valjean in the 1934 French adaptation of Les Miserables, Porfiry in Crime and Punishment (1935), Emperor Rudolph in 1936's Der Golem, and as the title character in Rothschild (1933), Taras Boulba (1936), Un Grande Amour de Beethoven (1936), Rasputin (1938) and Volpone (1939). Tragically, with the advent of Hitler, Baur learned that fame was no cushion against fanaticism. While he was in Berlin to star in his last film, 1942's Symphonie eines Lebens, Baur's Jewish wife was arrested on trumped-up espionage charges. His efforts to secure his wife's freedom led to his own arrest and torture at the hands of the Gestapo. In April of 1943, the Germans made a great show of releasing Harry Baur from prison; a few days later, however, he died under mysterious circumstances in Paris.

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