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Barbara Sukowa

Barbara Sukowa

German actress and singer
Barbara Sukowa
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German actress and singer
Is Actor Singer Stage actor Film actor
From Germany
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender female
Birth 2 February 1950, Bremen, Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, Germany
Age 71 years
Star sign Aquarius
Spouse: Robert LongoDaniel Olbrychski
Peoplepill ID barbara-sukowa
The details


Barbara Sukowa (born 2 February 1950) is a German theatre and film actress. She is known for her work with directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Margarethe von Trotta. She won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for the 1986 film Rosa Luxemburg. Her other film appearances include Lola (1981), Europa (1990), M. Butterfly (1993), and Hannah Arendt (2012).


Sukowa's stage debut was in Berlin in 1971, in a production of Peter Handke's Der Ritt über den Bodensee. Günter Beelitz invited her to join the ensemble of the Darmstädter National Theatre in the same year. She also worked in Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg, in collaboration with directors such as Luc Bondy and her roles included Marion in Büchner's Danton's Death and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other Shakespeare roles in Europe were Rosalind in As You Like It and Desdemona in Othello. She performed in Ibsen's The Master Builder. In English, she has worked in a production of The Cherry Orchard (Princeton, New Jersey, 2000).

In addition to her stage work, Sukowa is associated with the New German Cinema. She portrayed Mieze in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980), which earned her the German best young actress award. Her performance of the title role in Fassbinder’s Lola earned her a German Film Awards (Gold) award while her role in Margarethe von Trotta's Die bleierne Zeit (Marianne and Juliane, 1981) gained her a best actress award at the Venice Film Festival.

In 1985 she appeared in the mini-series Space based on James A. Michener's novel. She received the best actress award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival for her work in Von Trotta's film Rosa Luxemburg. In 2012, Sukowa starred as the lead in the German-Luxembourgian-French biographical film, 'Hannah Arendt', about the German-Jewish philosopher, Hannah Arendt, directed by Von Trotta, and distributed in the United States by Zeitgeist Films in 2013.

Sukowa has developed a parallel career as a classical music narrator and speaker. She has performed the Speaker's role in Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire, first with the Schoenberg Ensemble under Reinbert de Leeuw. Other performances have been with ensembles in Paris, London, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, Salzburg, Los Angeles, and New York City.

She has performed the Speaker's role in Schönberg's Gurrelieder with the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado, and is featured on the recordings with Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic, and Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia. She narrated Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf both in concert and on record, as well as on a recording of Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

She has performed in Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. She performed speaking and singing role in Reinbert de Leeuw's "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai" in 2004. She performed the speaking role in the US premiere of Michael Jarrell's Cassandre in March 2006, and in the New York City premiere that month, with musicians from the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

In 2004 she was a member of the jury at the 26th Moscow International Film Festival.

On 19 December 2011, it was announced she would be on the jury for the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, scheduled to be held in February 2012. In 2014, she starred as Jones in Syfy's thriller series 12 Monkeys.

Personal life

Sukowa was born in Bremen, Germany. She is married to the artist and director Robert Longo, with whom she has performed as a singer. She has three sons, one from her earlier marriage to Hans-Michael Rehberg, one from her relationship with Daniel Olbrychski, and one from her marriage to Robert Longo.


Film awards

  • 1980 Chaplin Schuh Beste NachwuchsDarstellerin
  • 1981 Best Actress Venice film Festival
  • 1982 Best Actress Bundesfilmpreis /German Federal Government Award
  • 1986 Cannes Film Festival, Best Actress for Rosa Luxemburg
  • 1986 Best Actress Bundesfilmpreis /German Federal Government Award
  • 1997 Bavarian Film Awards, Best Actress
  • 2008 Best Actress World Film Festival Montreal
  • 2009 Best Actress Bayerischer Filmreis/Bavarian Film Award
  • 2013 Best Actress Bayerischer Filmpreis/Bavarian Film Award
  • 2013 Best Actress German Film Academy Award

Music awards

  • Echo Klassic
  • Edison
  • Grammy Nomination

Select filmography

  • 1980 Berlin Alexanderplatz (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  • 1981 Die bleierne Zeit (Marianne & Juliane) (dir. Margarethe von Trotta)
  • 1981 Lola (dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  • 1983 Équateur (dir. Serge Gainsbourg)
  • 1985 Space (dir. Lee Phillips and Joseph Sergeant)
  • 1986 Rosa Luxemburg (dir. Margarethe von Trotta)
  • 1987 The Sicilian (dir. Michael Cimino)
  • 1987 Days to Remember
  • 1990 Europa (dir. Lars von Trier)
  • 1991 Voyager (dir. Volker Schlöndorff)
  • 1993 M. Butterfly (dir. David Cronenberg)
  • 1995 Johnny Mnemonic (dir. Robert Longo)
  • 1998 Lost Souls (dir. Jeff Woolnough)
  • 1998 Cradle Will Rock (dir. Tim Robbins)
  • 2000 Urbania (dir. Jon Shear)
  • 2001 Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (dir. Jill Sprecher)
  • 2004 Hierankl (dir. Hans Steinbichler), with Johanna Wokalek, Josef Bierbichler and Alexander Beyer
  • 2005 Romance & Cigarettes (dir. John Turturro)
  • 2009 Vision (dir. Margarethe von Trotta)
  • 2012 Hannah Arendt (dir. Margarethe von Trotta)
  • 2014 12 Monkeys, as Katarina Jones
  • 2016 Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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