His portrayal of Adolf Hitler in the film "Downfall" won wide international acclaim. Now the Swiss actor has been recognized for his contributions to the German language with the Carl Zuckmayer Medal.
Presenting the award at the Mainz State Theater on behalf of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Governor Malu Dreyer called Bruno Ganz one of the most important European actors in recent decades, occupying his own superior artistic category.
"With his expressive ability, he has a unique impact and brings immense credibility to his performances," she said. Dreyer added that his work was "free from the superficiality often employed in the dramatic arts." Ganz belongs to an exclusive league of actors, she continued, those able to enthuse both the serious culture pages of newspapers and mass audiences.
The 73-year-old actor has stood before the camera and on the German stage for 50 years. He has worked with director Wim Wenders (such as in the critically acclaimed 1987 film "Wings of Desire") as well as greats such as Werner Herzog and Volker Schlöndorff. Ganz' performance as Adolf Hitler in Oliver Hirschbiegel's World War II drama "Downfall" (2004) was highly recognized internationally.
The much-decorated actor has received the European Film Award, the Order of Merit in Germany, a knighthood in France's Legion of Honor and, in 2014, the Golden Camera award in Germany, among other distinctions.
Named in honor of the German author who died in 1977, the Carl Zuckmayer Medal has been awarded annually since 1979. Previous winners include German-Romanian writer Herta Müller, Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt, actors Armin Mueller-Stahl and Mario Adorf and rock musician Udo Lindenberg.