It was a credit to Bruno Ganz’s range that in his two most famous roles he played an angel and Hitler, respectively. Born during World War II in Switzerland, he originally found a home on the stage: indeed, little of his filmed CV comes before his 35th birthday, and he was awarded the Iffland-Ring in 1996, which celebrates the man regarded as the greatest actor in German-speaking theatre at that time.
Upon switching to film he became a hot commodity amongst a number of leading directors, with the likes of Herzog (Nosferatu), Wenders (Wings of Desire among many others) and Von Trier (The House That Jack Built) all anchoring works around him. However, it was his forever-memed portrayal of Hitler in Der Untergang (Downfall) in 2004 that earns him immortality. Indeed, his take on Der Fuhrer as a Parkinson’s-addled wreck switching between anger and resignation in his final days is, for many, the definitive version of Hitler on screen. And now, with Ganz himself dying of a colon cancer, those who didn’t pick him this year can throw their pens against a battle map in frustration and blame Stiener.