Attila Hörbiger

Attila Hörbiger (21 April 1896 – 27 April 1987) was an Austrian stage and movie actor.

Attila Hörbiger
Attila Hörbiger 1966.jpg
Hörbiger in 1966
Born(1896-04-21)21 April 1896
Died27 April 1987(1987-04-27) (aged 91)
Vienna, Austria
Years active1919–1985
(m. 1935)
Children3, including Christiane Hörbiger


Hörbiger as Jedermann, Salzburg Festival, 1947

Hörbiger was born in the Hungarian capital Budapest, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of engineer Hanns Hörbiger and the younger brother of actor Paul Hörbiger. In 1903 his family moved to Vienna, where his father set up a design office. Attila attended the Benedictine gymnasium at Saint Paul's Abbey, Carinthia from 1906 to 1914.

He began his stage career at the Wiener Neustadt municipal theatre in 1919, followed by engagements in Stuttgart and Bozen. In 1921 he performed at the Raimund Theater in Vienna and at the Lehartheater in Bad Ischl; his next engagements were at the municipal theatre in Reichenberg (Liberec), at the Vienna stage of Josef Jarno, at the German Reduta Theatre in Brünn (Brno), and at the New German Theatre in Prague. In 1928, Hörbiger joined the Theater in der Josefstadt ensemble under director Max Reinhardt; and from 1950 to 1975, he was a member of the Burgtheater. He acted Rudolf von Habsburg in Grillparzer's König Ottokars Glück und Ende at the great reopening of the Burgtheater on 15 October 1955.

From 1935 to 1937, and again from 1947 to 1951, he took the title role in the summer performances of Hofmannsthal's play Jedermann (Everyman) at the Salzburg Festival – according to Max Reinhardt the best actor ever in this role.

Hörbiger started his film career in the late 1920s. In 1931, he starred in Die große Liebe, the first film ever directed by Otto Preminger. He played in several German and Austrian movies, often alongside his second wife, Paula Wessely, whom he had married in 1935. With her, he had three actress daughters, Elisabeth Orth (b. 1936), Christiane Hörbiger (b. 1938), and Maresa Hörbiger (b. 1945). After the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany, Hörbiger joined the NSDAP. He and Paula Wessely starred in the anti-Polish propaganda film Heimkehr ("Homecoming") of 1941, directed by Gustav Ucicky.

Still in 1974, Hörbiger premiered as Nathan the Wise at the Burgtheater; he appeared in theatre performances until 1985. Two years later he died in Vienna at the age of 91 following a stroke. He is buried at the Grinzing cemetery.


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