Casting agent Erna Baumbauer dies

Clients included Maximillian Schell, Bruno Ganz

COLOGNE, Germany -- Erna Baumbauer, the grand dame of German casting agents, died Sunday, aged 91.

Standing 5 foot 1 inch, Baumbauer towered over the German film industry. The stable of names at her Munich casting agency reads like a who's who of great German actors: Maximilian Schell, Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Sebastian Koch, Susanne Lothar, Katja Riemann. "The Lives of Others" star Ulich Muehe, also a client, called her "the Queen of Bavaria."

In 2006 Baumbauer received a lifetime achievement award from the German Film Academy -- the first time a woman who was neither an actress nor a director has been so honored.

Publicity shy and self-effacing, Baumbauer was the insiders' insider. She knew everyone in the German business and knew just how to get her actors into the right films. When Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck sent Baumbauer the script to "The Lives of Others," she packaged the film for him, delivering the three male leads from her agency: Ulrich Muehe, Sebastian Koch und Ulrich Tukur.

Baumbauer worked as a bookdealer and journalist before moving into show business after WWII. She founded her eponymous Munich agency where she worked until her death. She leaves behind two children: her daughter Patricia, also a talent agent and her son Frank, a prominent German theater director.