He has played heroes and villains, lovers and killers. For round 60 years, Mario Adorf has wowed audiences from the stage, on television, and in movies. He worked only briefly in Hollywood, but the meanwhile 82-year-old had a large role in shaping European cinema. On "Talking Germany", the German-Italian speaks about his path from lowly beginnings to the spotlight.
Few actors can look back on a career as long and successful as Mario Adorf's. The 82-year-old has acted in more than 200 different roles in films, on television, and on stage. On top of that, he is a successful book author and entertainer.
Soon after he completed acting school, he wowed audiences as the serial killer Bruno Lüdke in the 1957, Oscar-nominated drama, "Nights, When the Devil Came". From then on, he was often cast as a murderer, crook, or other villain. He drew international attention, making Hollywood westerns in the United States and spaghetti westerns in Italy. In the 1970s, he and a new wave of German cinema came together. Adorf acted in films directed by Volker Schlöndorff and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Mario Adorf was born out of wedlock in Zurich in 1930. His mother moved with him to Mayen in Germany's Eifel region, where the single mother earned a livelihood as a seamstress. Financial straits forced her to place him in an orphanage for a few years. Only once in his life did Mario Adorf meet his father, a married surgeon from southern Italy.
Mario Adorf lived in Rome for almost 40 years, trying to be more Italian than the Italians and seeking a homeland and an identity. In 2004, he ended this period of his life and moved away from Rome.
Monique Faye has been his life partner for more than 40 years -- and his wife since 1985. They spend most of their time in Paris and Munich.