Helmut Berger

Helmut Berger (born Helmut Steinberger, 29 May 1944) is an Austrian film and television actor. He is most famous for his work with Luchino Visconti, particularly in his performance as King Ludwig II of Bavaria in Ludwig, for which he received a special David di Donatello award. He appears primarily in European cinema, but has also acted in films such as The Godfather Part III and Iron Cross. He was born in Bad Ischl, Austria, into a family of hoteliers. Berger initially trained and worked in this field, even though he had no interest in gastronomy or the hospitality industry. At age eighteen, he moved to London, England, where he did odd-jobs while taking acting classes. After studying languages in Perugia, Italy, Berger moved to Rome, Italy. In 1964, he first met the film director Luchino Visconti, with whom he later had an intimate relationship. Visconti gave him his first acting role in the film Le streghe (The Witches, 1967) (in the episode "La Strega Bruciata Viva"), but he gained international prominence as the amoral Martin von Essenbeck in Visconti's The Damned (1969).


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