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Jürgen Prochnow

Jürgen Prochnow

German American actor
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German American actor
A.K.A. Jurgen Prochnow
Countries United States of America Germany
Occupations Voice actor Stage actor Film actor Musician
Gender male
Birth 10 June 1941 (Berlin)
Star sign Gemini
Residence Los Angeles
The details

Jürgen Prochnow (German pronunciation: [ˈjʏʁɡn̩ ˈpʁɔxnoː]  listen ; born 10 June 1941) is a German-born actor. His best-known roles internationally have been as the good-hearted and sympathetic U-Boat captain in Das Boot (1981), Duke Leto Atreides in Dune (1984), the minor but important role of Kazakh dictator General Ivan Radek in Air Force One (1997), and the antagonist Maxwell Dent in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987).

Early life and career

Prochnow was born in Berlin and brought up in Düsseldorf, the son of an engineer. He studied acting at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. Thanks to his on-screen intensity and his fluency in English, he has become one of the most successful German actors in Hollywood. He portrayed Arnold Schwarzenegger in a film about the actor's political career in California, entitled See Arnold Run; coincidentally, Prochnow was one of the actors considered for the title role in The Terminator. He was the main antagonist in the Broken Lizard film Beerfest, which contains a submarine scene that references his role in Das Boot. He played a supporting character in the Wing Commander film, Cmdr. Paul Gerald. In addition, he dubbed Sylvester Stallone's voice in the German version of Rocky and Rocky II.

He was facially scarred following a stunt accident during the filming of Dune. One scene called for Prochnow (as Duke Leto) to be strapped to a black stretcher and drugged. During one take, a high-powered bulb positioned above Prochnow exploded due to heat, raining down molten glass. Remarkably, the actor was able to free himself from the stretcher, moments before glass fused itself to the place he had been strapped to. During the filming of the dream sequence, he had a special apparatus attached to his face so that green smoke (simulating poison gas) would emerge from his cheek when the Baron (Kenneth McMillan) scratched it. Although thoroughly tested, the smoke gave Prochnow first and second-degree burns on his cheek. This sequence appears on film in the released version.

In 1996, he was a member of the jury at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival.

Personal life

In the early 1980s, Prochnow was in a relationship with Austrian actress Antonia Reininghaus who fatally poisoned their common seven-year-old daughter Johanna in 1987. In 1982, he married actor Jürgen Goslar′s daughter Isabel Goslar, with whom he has two children: a daughter, Mona, and a son, Roman. The couple divorced in 1997. From 2004 until the divorce in 2014 he was married to Birgit Stein, a German screenwriter and actress. Stein died in August 2018 in a motorcycle accident in Utah. Since 2015, he has been married to actress Verena Wengler.

His elder brother Dieter Prochnow, born 1939, is also an actor. Together, the brothers appeared in The Man Inside where Jürgen played the leading role and Dieter a small supporting role.

Prochnow used to divide his time between Los Angeles and Munich. He received U.S. citizenship in 2004. In 2017 he announced that he had sold his house in California and would be moving to Berlin.


  • 1985 Bavarian Film Awards, Best Actor


  • Zoff (1972) as Joky
  • The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972) as Mann Am Stammtisch / Man at the Meeting Table (uncredited)
  • The Tenderness of Wolves (1973) as Hehler
  • Die Verrohung des Franz Blum (The Brutalisation of Franz Blum) (1974) as Franz Blum
  • One or the Other of Us (1974) as Bernd Ziegenhals
  • The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975) as Ludwig Götten
  • Die Konsequenz (1977, The Consequence) as Martin Kurath
  • Operation Ganymed (1977) as Oss
  • So weit das Auge reicht (1980) as Alexander Späh
  • Das Boot (1981, The Boat) as Capt.-Lt. Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock - Der Alte
  • Passion and Valor aka Love is Forever (1983, TV Movie) as General Siegfried Kaplan
  • The Keep (1983) as Captain Klaus Woermann
  • Dune (1984) as Duke Leto Atreides
  • Forbidden (1984) as Fritz Friedländer
  • Der Bulle und das Mädchen [de] (1985) as The Cop
  • Killing Cars [de] (1986) as Ralph Korda
  • Terminus (1987) as Sir / Doctor / Yellow Truck's Driver
  • Des Teufels Paradies (Devil's Paradise) (1987) as Escher
  • Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) as Maxwell Dent
  • The Seventh Sign (1988) as David Bannon
  • A Dry White Season (1989) as Captain Stolz
  • The Fourth War (1990) as Col. Valachev
  • Kill Cruise (1990) as The Skipper
  • The Man Inside (1990) as Günter Wallraff
  • The Schoolmaster (1990) as Rozinsky
  • Robin Hood (1991) as Sir Miles Folcanet
  • Hurricane Smith (1992) as Charlie Dowd
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) as Woodsman
  • Interceptor (1992) as Phillips
  • Jewels (1992, TV Mini-Series) as Joachim von Mannheim
  • Body of Evidence (1993) as Doctor Alan Paley
  • Der Fall Lucona (1993) as Hans Strasser
  • The Last Border – viimeisellä rajalla (1993) as Duke
  • Die Wildnis (1993) as Brenner
  • Trigger Fast (1994) as Jack Neumann
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994) as Sutter Cane
  • Judge Dredd (1995) as Judge Griffin
  • On Dangerous Ground (1996, TV movie) as Carl Morgan
  • The English Patient (1996) as Major Muller
  • DNA (1997) as Dr. Carl Wessinger
  • Der Schrei Der Liebe (1997, The Cry of Love, TV Movie) as Holger
  • Air Force One (1997) as General Alexander Radek
  • The Replacement Killers (1998) as Michael Kogan
  • The Human Bomb (1998, TV Movie) as Gerhardt Dach
  • From China with Love (1998) as Paul Konen
  • Schuldig (1998)
  • The Fall (1998) as József Kovács
  • Wing Commander (1999) as Cdr. Paul Gerald
  • Esther (1999, TV Movie) as Haman
  • Youri (1999)
  • Gunblast Vodka (2000) as Sacha Roublev
  • The Last Stop (2000) as Fritz
  • Padre Pio: Miracle Man (2000, TV Movie) as Visitatore / The Inquisitor
  • Jack the Dog (2001) as Klaus
  • Elite (2001) as Avi
  • Last Run (2001) as Andrus Bukarin
  • Ripper (2001) as Detective Kelso
  • Dark Asylum (2001) as Dr. Fallon
  • Heart of America (2002) as Harold Lewis
  • Checkpoint (2002)
  • House of the Dead (2003) as Capitain Victor Kirk
  • The Poet (2003) as Vashon
  • Baltic Storm (2003) as Erik Westermark
  • See Arnold Run (2005, TV Movie) as Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • The Celestine Prophecy (2006) as Jensen
  • The Da Vinci Code (2006) as Andre Vernet
  • Beerfest (2006) as Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhausen
  • Schröders wunderbare Welt (2006) as John Gregory
  • Primeval (2007) as Jacob Krieg
  • Nanking (2007) as John Rabe
  • Dark Sector (2008, Video Game) as Yargo Mensik (voice)
  • La Conjura de El Escorial (2008) as Espinosa
  • Merlin and the War of the Dragons (2008) as The Mage
  • Oko (2009) as Mr. Hooked
  • 24 (2010, TV Series) as Sergei Bazhaev
  • Sinners & Saints (2010) as Mr. Rhykin
  • NCIS: Los Angeles (2010-2014, TV Series) as Mattias Draeger
  • Ein schmaler Grat (2013) as Uwe Wolfmann
  • Company of Heroes (2013) as Luca Gruenewald
  • Ohne Gnade! (2013) as Helmutchen
  • Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014) as Woodsman
  • Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) as Tobias
  • Remember (2015) as Rudy Kurlander #4
  • Die dunkle Seite des Mondes (2015) as Pius Ott
  • Interference (2016) as Herr Ryser
  • Tatort (1973-2016, TV Series) as Dieter Brodschella / Klaus Linder / Hans Rodenburg / Kesting
  • Kundschafter des Friedens (2017) as Kern
  • Leanders letzte Reise (2017) as Eduard Leander
  • Damascus Cover (2017) as Franz Ludin
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