William Dieterle

William Dieterle (July 15, 1893, Ludwigshafen, – December 9, 1972, Ottobrunn) was a German actor and film director, who worked in Hollywood for much of his career. His best known films include The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Story of Louis Pasteur and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His 1937 film The Life of Emile Zola won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He was born Wilhelm Dieterle, the youngest child of nine, to Jacob and Berthe (Doerr) Dieterle. As a child, he lived in considerable poverty and earned money by various means including carpentry and as a scrap dealer. He became interested in theater early and would stage productions in the family barn for friends and family. At the age of sixteen he had joined a traveling theater company as a handy-man, scene shifter and apprentice actor. His striking good looks and ambition soon paved the way as a leading romantic actor in theater productions. In 1919, he attracted the attention of Max Reinhardt in Berlin who hired him as an actor for his productions until 1924. He started acting in German films in 1921 to make more money and quickly became a popular character actor.


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