Conrad Veidt

Active - 1917 - 1943  |   Born - Jan 22, 1893   |   Died - Apr 3, 1943   |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Spy Film, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Like so many German actors who played Nazis during World War II, Conrad Veidt was a fervent anti-Nazi and had fled Europe just one step ahead of the storm troopers. Veidt began his career at age 20 under the guidance of the great Max Reinhardt. His first taste of worldwide fame came by way of his highly stylized portrayal of the tormented Cesare in Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919). His performance in The Student of Prague (1926) led to his being briefly snatched by Hollywood, where he launched his American film career by donning several layers of age makeup and portraying the doddering Louis XI in The Beloved Rogue (1927). Veidt returned to Germany in 1929, but left for England with his Jewish wife when Hitler came to power. On a brief visit to his homeland, Veidt was detained by the German authorities for highly suspect reasons, and had to be rescued by his British studio. In 1940, he was back in America to complete his scenes in the U.S./British co-production The Thief of Baghdad. He remained in Hollywood for the rest of his career, essaying such villainous characters as the cunning Major Strasser in Casablanca (1942). Conrad Veidt died of a sudden heart attack after playing an Austrian undercover agent in Above Suspicion (1943).

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