- September 08, 1962 (age 58)
- Lena Roklin
Thomas Kretschmann (born 8 September 1962) is a German actor best known for playing Leutnant Hans von Witzland in the 1993 film Stalingrad, Hauptmann Peter Kahn in the 2013 film Stalingrad, Hauptmann Wilm Hosenfeld in The Pianist, Hermann Fegelein in Downfall, Major Otto Remer in the 2008 film Valkyrie, and Captain Engelhorn in the 2005 remake of King Kong, and for voicing Professor Z in Cars 2. He appeared briefly as Baron Strucker in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and is subsequently set to portray the character in Marvel Studios' Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Early life and education
Kretschmann was born in Dessau, East Germany, on 8 September 1962. Before he became an actor, Kretschmann trained to become an Olympic swimmer. At the age of 19, he fled East Germany and began a month-long trek to West Germany to escape the East German state. During this trek, part of his finger was lost but surgically reattached. Kretschmann crossed four borders (Hungary, Yugoslavia, Austria) with nothing other than his passport and the equivalent of $100 in his possession.
At the age of 25, he began acting, starring in numerous European films and television series. In 1991, Kretschmann was awarded the Max Ophüls Prize for best young actor for his role in Der Mitwisser. He went on to star in his first full length feature, the 1993 film Stalingrad. He achieved international recognition for his role as a rapist/murderer in Dario Argento's The Stendhal Syndrome.
Although quite popular in his homeland, Kretschmann did not achieve notice in Hollywood until his role as Hauptmann Wilm Hosenfeld in Roman Polanski's 2002 film The Pianist. In the years since, Kretschmann has often portrayed military officers in films about the Third Reich. In the 2004 film Downfall, Kretschmann played Hermann Fegelein, a Waffen-SS General and brother-in-law to Eva Braun. In the 2008 thriller Valkyrie, Kretschmann played Major Otto Ernst Remer, a Wehrmacht officer who had a key role in stopping the 20 July Plot. Prior to the casting of Tom Cruise, Kretschmann had been attached to play Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.
Kretschmann also played Adolf Eichmann in a 2007 biographical film.
Kretschmann made his first appearance on American television in 2003 when he guest starred in 2 episodes of 24. He later also appeared in Relic Hunter. In 2004, Kretschmann played Timothy Cain, a ruthless Umbrella Major, in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. In the same year, he appeared in the French film Immortal with Linda Hardy. The film was notable for its use of a digital backlot and interaction between Computer-generated characters and real actors.
In 2005, Kretschmann won a role in Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, where he worked again with Adrien Brody, with whom he costarred in The Pianist.
The following year, Kretschmann began to win acclaim for his role in Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story (Rohtenburg in Germany). A psychological thriller, the movie co-stars Keri Russell and was inspired by the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case. It was scheduled for a March 2006 release in Germany, but its showing is under injunction after Meiwes successfully sued to have it banned on grounds of infringement of his Persönlichkeitsrecht (personality rights). At the 2006 Festival de Cine de Sitges, Kretschmann shared the Best Actor award for his performance in this film with his co-star Thomas Huber. Kretschmann also shared Best Actor with Huber at the 2007 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.
In early 2009 Kretschmann confirmed that he had separated from his girlfriend of 12 years Lena Roklin. Kretschmann has three children with Lena: Stella (born 1999), Nicolas (born 1998), and Sascha (born 2002). From March 2009 to June 2010, he was in a relationship with Iranian model Shermine Shahrivar. Since 2011, he has been in a relationship with Brittany Rice. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.