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Actor Peter Simonischek is dead. The Austrian died at the age of 76 on the night of May 30 surrounded by his family at home in Vienna, the Burgtheater confirmed corresponding media reports. Simonischek was in great demand both in the theater and on television and cinema. Especially in the theater, he has played practically all the important roles in the German-speaking world in recent decades.
Simonischek was born in Graz in 1946. In his native city, he first began studying architecture, but then transferred to the Academy of Music and Performing Arts to become an actor. His father, a dentist, had inadvertently infected his son with the acting virus. He took him to a performance of »Hamlet« in Graz. » After this Hamlet, I was lost," Simonischek told the German Press Agency on his 75th birthday.
His first engagements took him to St. Gallen, Bern and Düsseldorf. His longest engagement was at the Schaubühne in Berlin, where he was a member of the ensemble from 1979 to 1999.
In 1999 he returned to Austria to the Burgtheater in Vienna and from 2002 to 2009 he sang »Jedermann« in the play of the same name by Hugo von Hofmannsthal at the Salzburg Festival. More than 100 times, more often than anyone else, he played the rich man whom death is slowly but surely coming.
Simonischek became known to an international audience in 2016 for his role in Maren Ade's Oscar-nominated film »Toni Erdmann«, in which he plays a father who tries to improve his relationship with his career-oriented daughter with a number of jokes and pranks.
He won numerous awards for the role, including the German Film Award and the European Film Award for Best Actor. In 2017, Simonischek was named "Austrian of the Year" in the cultural heritage category. The Burgtheater made him an honorary member in 2019. Simonischek was most recently seen on the big screen in Lars Kraume's »Der vermessene Mensch« (The Measured Man).
Simonisch is survived by his wife, the actress Brigitte Karner, and their sons Kaspar, Benedikt and Max Simonischek.