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Anton Diffring

Anton Diffring

Actor
Anton Diffring
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Actor
Was Actor
From Germany
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 20 October 1918, Koblenz
Death 20 May 1989, Châteauneuf-Grasse (aged 70 years)
The details

Biography

Anton Diffring (20 October 1916 – 19 May 1989) was a German character actor known for his portrayal of German officers and aristocrats in many film and TV appearances.

Biography

Diffring was born as Alfred Pollack in Koblenz. His father Solomon Pollack was a Jewish shop-owner who managed to avoid internment by the Nazi authorities and survived the war. His mother Bertha Diffring was Christian. He studied acting in Berlin and Vienna but there is conjecture about when he left Germany prior to World War II. The audio commentary for the Doctor Who series Silver Nemesis mentions that he left Germany in 1936, to escape persecution due to his homosexuality. Other accounts point to him leaving Germany in 1939 and heading for Canada where he was interned in 1940, which is unlikely as he appears in the 1940 Ealing Studios film Convoy released in July as the officer of U-37, although uncredited. His sister Jacqueline Diffring moved to England and became a famous sculptress. Although he made two, fleeting, un-credited, appearances in films in 1940, it was not until 1950 that his acting career began to take off.

Anton Diffring as Baron Frankenstein in Tales of Frankenstein (1958)

With numerous British war films being produced in the 1950s, Diffring's blond hair, blue eyes and his chiselled features saw him often cast as villainous German officers, in Albert R.N. (1953) and The Colditz Story (1955). Some of his more notable roles as German characters were in The Heroes of Telemark (1965), The Blue Max (1966), Where Eagles Dare (1968), Operation Daybreak (1975) (as SS officer Reinhard Heydrich) and the match commentator in Escape to Victory (1981), though he also played a Polish parachutist in The Red Beret (1953). In 1983 he played Hitler's foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in the American mini-series The Winds of War.

He played an important part in the TV mini-series Flambards, being the aeronautical pioneer who assists the young son, William Russell (Alan Parnaby), second in line of inheritance to the Flambards Estate but also obsessed with flying. Diffring's character was a German, living in England, shortly before the beginning of the Great War.

Diffring starred in a number of horror films, such as The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) and Circus of Horrors (1960) and played the lead in the 1958 television pilot Tales of Frankenstein. He also appeared in quite a number of international films, such as Fahrenheit 451 (1966) directed by François Truffaut.

His final performance was again as a Nazi for the BBC in the 1988 Doctor Who serial Silver Nemesis in which he agreed to appear because the recording coincided with the Wimbledon Championships, which he wanted to watch. He died in his home at Châteauneuf-Grasse in the South of France in 1989. His sister was reported to be living there in 2008.

No official statement was made as to the cause of his death.

In a 2002 Terrorverlag interview, German actor Arthur Brauss suggested that Diffring had died of AIDS. However, in her web-biography of Diffring, Susan Edwards indicates that he died of cancer.

Filmography

  • Convoy (1940) .... U-Boat officer (uncredited)
  • Neutral Port (1940) .... Sailor (uncredited)
  • State Secret (1950) .... State Police Officer at Theatre
  • Highly Dangerous (1950) .... Officer At Station Check Point (uncredited)
  • Hotel Sahara (1951) .... German soldier (uncredited)
  • Appointment with Venus (1951) .... 2nd German soldier
  • The Woman's Angle (1952) .... Peasant
  • Song of Paris (1952) .... Renoir
  • Top Secret (1952) .... East German policeman (uncredited)
  • Never Let Me Go (1953) .... Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
  • The Red Beret (1953) .... The Pole
  • Park Plaza 605 (1953) .... Gregor
  • Albert R.N. (1953) .... Hauptmann Schultz
  • Operation Diplomat (1953) .... Shroder
  • Betrayed (1954) .... Captain Von Stanger
  • The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954) .... German Pilot
  • The Colditz Story (1955) .... Fischer
  • I Am a Camera (1955) .... Fritz Wendel
  • Doublecross (1956) .... Dmitri Krassin
  • The Black Tent (1956) .... Senior Nazi Officer
  • Reach for the Sky (1956) .... German Stabsfeldwebel
  • House of Secrets (1956) .... Anton Luaderbach
  • The Traitor (1957) .... Joseph Brezina
  • The Crooked Sky (1957) .... Fraser
  • Lady of Vengeance (1957) .... Karnak
  • Seven Thunders (1957) .... Colonel Trautman
  • A Question of Adultery (1958) .... Carl Dieter
  • Mark of the Phoenix (1958) .... Inspector Schell
  • The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) .... Dr. Georges Bonnet
  • Circus of Horrors (1960) .... Dr. Schuler
  • Enter Inspector Duval (1961) .... Inspector Duval
  • Incident at Midnight (1963) .... Dr. Erik Leichner
  • Vorsicht Mister Dodd (de) (1964) .... Howard
  • Lana – Königin der Amazonen (de) (1964) .... Professor Van Vries
  • Operation Crossbow (1965) .... SS Sturmbannfuhrer (uncredited)
  • Shots in Threequarter Time (1965) .... Burger
  • The Heroes of Telemark (1965) .... Major Frick
  • The Blue Max (1966) .... Holbach
  • Fahrenheit 451 (1966) .... Fabian
  • The Double Man (1967) .... Berthold
  • Counterpoint (1968) .... Colonel Arndt
  • Where Eagles Dare (1968) .... Colonel Paul Kramer
  • Man on Horseback (1969) .... Kurfürst
  • Uccidete Rommel (1969) .... Captain Richard Howell
  • Zeppelin (1971) .... Colonel Hirsch
  • The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971) .... Ambassador Sobiesky
  • The Day the Clown Cried (1972) .... Captain Curt Runkel
  • Der Stoff, aus dem die Träume sind (de) (1972)
  • Little Mother (1973) .... The Cardinal
  • Mark of the Devil Part II (1973) .... Balthasar von Ross
  • Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye (1973) .... Dr. Franz
  • The Battle of Sutjeska (1973) .... General Alexander Lohr
  • Tony Arzenta (1973) .... Grunwald
  • Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street (1974) .... Mensur
  • Shatter (1974) .... Hans Leber
  • The Beast Must Die (1974) .... Pavel
  • Borsalino & Co. (1974)
  • Die Antwort kennt nur der Wind (1974) .... John Keelwood
  • Operation Daybreak (1975) .... Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich
  • Potato Fritz (1976) .... Lieutnant Slade
  • The Swiss Conspiracy (1976) .... Franz Benninger
  • Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1977) .... Old Priest
  • Vanessa (1977) .... Cooper
  • Waldrausch (1977)
  • L'imprécateur (1977) .... Ronson
  • Valentino (1977) .... Baron Long
  • Les Indiens sont encore loin (1977) .... Le professeur d'allemand
  • Son of Hitler (1978) .... Gernheim
  • Das Einhorn (1978) .... Blomich
  • Io sono mia (1978) .... Padre di Suna
  • Der Durchdreher (1979) .... Gloria's first husband
  • Tusk (1980) .... John Morrison
  • Escape to Victory (1981) .... German - Chief Commentator - The Commentators
  • Der Schnüffler (1983) .... Colonel Henderson
  • S.A.S. à San Salvador (1983) .... Peter Reynolds
  • Marie Ward - Zwischen Galgen und Glorie (1985) .... Kardinal Millini
  • Operation Dead End (1986) .... Prof. Lang
  • Wahnfried (1986) .... Franz Liszt
  • Der Sommer des Samurai (de) (1986) .... Wintrich
  • Faceless (1987) .... Dr. Karl Heinz Moser
  • Anna (1988) .... George Mamoulian (final film role)

Selected television appearances

  • Assignment Vienna (8 episodes, 1972–1973) .... Inspector Hoffman
  • Car Along The Pass .... opening episode of The Galton & Simpson Playhouse (1 episode, 1977)
  • Flambards (5 episodes, 1979) .... Mr. Dermot
  • Der Alte (1 episode, 1980) .... Leo Steglitz
  • Arsène Lupin joue et perd (1980) TV mini-series .... Guillaume II
  • Ein Winter auf Mallorca (1982) (TV) .... Konsul Fleury
  • The Winds of War (4 episodes, 1983) .... Joachim von Ribbentrop
  • Der Besuch (1984) (TV) .... Crozier
  • Weltuntergang (1984) (TV)
  • Opération O.P.E.N. (1 episode, 1984) .... Beejlab
  • The Masks of Death (1984) (TV) .... Graf Udo Von Felseck of Purbridge Manor
  • Messieurs les jurés (1 episode, 1985) .... Karl Düren
  • Jane Horney (1985) TV mini-series .... Adm. Wilhelm Canaris
  • Derrick (3 episodes, 1981–1987) .... Alfred Bandera / ...
  • Doctor Who serial "Silver Nemesis" (3 episodes, 1988) .... De Flores


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