Armin Mueller-Stahl to Receive Lifetime Achievement Golden Bear

The 61st Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 10-20, 2011.


COLOGNE, Germany -- Armin Mueller-Stahl, one of the greatest actors of East and West Germany who has become a regular in Hollywood studio productions, will receive a lifetime achievement Golden Bear at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.

Mueller-Stahl, who turned 80 this week, had his international breakthrough playing an immigrant taxi driver with a funny hat and little English in Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth in 1991. The role put him on Hollywood's radar and soon Mueller-Stahl was getting casting calls from directors as diverse as Stephen Soderbergh (Kafka), David Fincher (The Game) and, most recently, Ron Howard (Angels and Demons). In 1997, he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his performance in Scott Hicks' Shine.

But by the time Hollywood took notice, Mueller-Stahl had already gone through two astounding careers -- one in communist East Germany and another in the New German cinema scene in the 1980s.

East German director Frank Beyer cast Mueller-Stahl in several of his anti-war films -- including Five Cartridges and the Holocaust dramas Naked Among Wolves and Jabob the Liar. The latter was the only East German film every nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar. Mueller-Stahl later played a supporting role in the 1999 Jabob the Liar remake starring Robin Williams.

In 1980, Mueller-Stahl slipped under the Iron Curtain and began the second stage in his cinema career – working with West German directing wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder on films including Lolaand Veronika Voss.

More recently, Mueller-Stahl has appeared on the small screen -- playing a fictional Israeli Prime Minister on The West Wing, becoming Nobel laureate Thomas Mann for a critically-acclaimed German mini-series or starring as Johanna Buddenbrook in a new TV version of Mann's classic The Buddenbrooks.

Mueller-Stahl has been a Berlin Festival regular, appearing in last year's opening night film The International, officiating on the jury of the 2006 event and winning a Silver Bear in 1992 for his role in George Sluizer's Utz.

The 61st Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 10-20, 2011.