"I can confirm his death" in Vienna, where he lived, a spokeswoman for the Austrian Association of National Theatres told AFP on Tuesday.

Born in Austria on August 6, 1946, Peter Simonischek owed his popularity to his interpretation of very diverse characters, whether in pieces by Labiche or in the classical repertoire of the Salzburg Festival.

But it was late that this son of a dentist appeared in the spotlight of world cinema with his role as a whimsical patriarch in the comedy "Toni Erdmann", international critics' prize at Cannes in 2016.

His daughter in this film was played by Sandra Hüller, who was again honored on the Croisette last week, since she played in the Palme d'Or "Anatomy of a fall" as well as in "The Zone of Interest" which won the Grand Prix.

Far from his role in Cannes, it was in "Jedermann" (Every Man), an allegory on the Last Judgment written by the Viennese poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929), that Peter Simonischek gained wide recognition.

The cult play has been performed every summer since 1920 at the Salzburg Festival and the actor performed for eight years, from 2002 to 2009, the title role of a wealthy bourgeois who, in the evening of his life, dialogues with death.

Trained by the German director Peter Stein at the Schaubühne in Berlin, Peter Simonischek remained for twenty years a pillar of the troupe of the famous German scene, which collaborates with great names such as Luc Bondy or Robert Wilson.

He worked on the first German-language performance of Yasmina Reza's worldwide success, "Art", in 1995.

Critics regularly praised his "presence", his "explosive" happiness to play and his ability to "transform".

Born in Graz (south), he returned to Austria in 1999 where he joined the permanent troupe of Vienna's most famous theatre, the Burgtheater.

This did not prevent this bulimic filming to play in dozens of very popular Austrian or international films and television series.

He also called his biography: "I am available."

Yet he said he became more selective with age. "When you are young, you take all productions with joy," said in 2012 the one who now expected a collaboration to bring him "joy and fulfillment".

© 2023 AFP