Barbara Sukowa

Barbara Sukowa (German: [ˈbaʁ.ba.ʁa ˈzu.kɔ.va] (About this soundlisten); born 2 February 1950) is a German theatre and film actress. She is known for her work with directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Margarethe von Trotta. She won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for the film Rosa Luxemburg (1986). Her other film appearances include Lola (1981), Europa (1990), M. Butterfly (1993), and Hannah Arendt (2012). She starred as Katarina Jones in the television series 12 Monkeys (2015–18).

Barbara Sukowa
Barbara Sukowa Berlinale 2010 cropped.jpg
Sukowa in 2010
Born (1950-02-02) 2 February 1950 (age 71)
Bremen, Germany
(m. 1993)


Sukowa's stage debut was in Berlin in 1971, in a production of Peter Handke's Der Ritt über den Bodensee. The same year, Günter Beelitz invited her to join the ensemble of the Darmstädter National Theatre. She also worked in Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg, in collaboration with directors such as Luc Bondy, playing Marion in Büchner's Danton's Death and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other Shakespeare roles in Europe were Rosalind in As You Like It and Desdemona in Othello. She performed in Ibsen's The Master Builder. In English, she has worked in a production of The Cherry Orchard (Princeton, New Jersey, 2000).[1]

In addition to her stage work, Sukowa is associated with the New German Cinema. Her performance as Mieze in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) earned her the German best young actress award. Her performance of the title role in Fassbinder's Lola earned her a German Film Awards (Gold) award. Her role in Margarethe von Trotta's Die bleierne Zeit (Marianne and Juliane, 1981) gained her a best actress award at the Venice Film Festival.[citation needed]

In 1985, Sukowa appeared in the miniseries Space, based on James A. Michener's novel. She received the best actress award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival for her work in Von Trotta's Rosa Luxemburg. In 2012, Sukowa starred as the lead in Von Trotta's German-Luxembourgian-French biographical film Hannah Arendt, about the German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, distributed in the United States by Zeitgeist Films in 2013.[citation needed]

Sukowa has developed a parallel career as a classical music narrator and speaker. She has performed the Speaker's role in Arnold Schönberg's Pierrot lunaire, first with the Schoenberg Ensemble under Reinbert de Leeuw, and later with ensembles in Paris, London,[2] Berlin, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, Salzburg, Los Angeles, and New York City.[3] She has performed the Speaker's role in Schönberg's Gurrelieder with the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado, and is featured on the recordings with Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic, and Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia.[citation needed] She narrated Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf both in concert and on record, as well as on a recording of Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream.[citation needed]

Sukowa has performed in Arthur Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera. She performed speaking and singing role in de Leeuw's Im wunderschönen Monat Mai in 2004. She performed the speaking role in the US premiere of Michael Jarrell's Cassandre in March 2006, and in the New York City premiere that month, with musicians from the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.[4][5]

In 2004, Sukowa was a member of the jury at the 26th Moscow International Film Festival.[6] In 2012, she was on the jury for the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival.[7] In 2014, she starred as Jones in Syfy's thriller series 12 Monkeys.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Sukowa was born in Bremen, Germany. She is married to the artist and director Robert Longo, with whom she has performed as a singer.[9] She has three sons, one from her earlier marriage to Hans-Michael Rehberg, one from her relationship with Daniel Olbrychski, and one with Longo.[10]


Film awardsEdit

  • 1980 Chaplin Schuh Beste NachwuchsDarstellerin
  • 1981 Best Actress Venice film Festival
  • 1982 Best Actress Bundesfilmpreis /German Federal Government Award
  • 1986 Cannes Film Festival, Best Actress for Rosa Luxemburg[11]
  • 1986 Best Actress Bundesfilmpreis /German Federal Government Award
  • 1997 Bavarian Film Awards, Best Actress[12]
  • 2006 Adolf Grimme Award in Gold
  • 2008 Best Actress World Film Festival Montreal[13]
  • 2009 Best Actress Bayerischer Filmreis/Bavarian Film Award
  • 2010 Best Actress Bavarian Film Award
  • 2013 Best Actress Bayerischer Filmpreis/Bavarian Film Award
  • 2013 Best Actress German Film Academy Award for Hannah Arendt
  • 2014 Fellini Award for Outstanding Work in Cinema

Music awardsEdit

Select filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Alvin Klein, "Casting Keeps Chekhov Relevant: Jane Alexander in 'Cherry Orchard'",, 9 April 2000.
  2. ^ Ashley, Tim (13 March 2006). ""Pierrot Lunaire"". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  3. ^ Tommasini, Anthony. "Two Unkindred Souls Nevertheless in Accord". New York Times. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  4. ^ Sarah Bryan Miller, Review of Cassandre. Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, 1 April 2006.
  5. ^ Bernard Holland,"Works That Boldly Position Words at the Center of Power", St. Louis Symphony Performs Choral Works,, 3 April 2006.
  6. ^ "26th Moscow International Film Festival (2004)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Berlinale 2012: International Jury". Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Watch the Opening 9 Minutes of Syfy's 12 Monkeys". Debi Moore. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  9. ^ Steve Dollar (16 November 2007). "Sukowa Plays the Role of Singer". New York Sun. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  10. ^ Manuel Brug. "Zur Person (Barbara Sukowa)". Die Welt. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  11. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Barbara SUKOWA". Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  12. ^ [1] Archived 19 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^
  14. ^

External linksEdit