Senta Berger

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Senta Berger
Senta Berger - 1977.jpg
Berger in 1977
Born(1941-05-13) 13 May 1941 (age 72)
Vienna, Austria
OccupationActor, producer, author
Years active1955-present
Spouse(s)Michael Verhoeven (1966-present) (2 children)
ChildrenLuca Verhoeven (b. 1979)
Simon Verhoeven
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Senta Berger
Senta Berger - 1977.jpg
Berger in 1977
Born(1941-05-13) 13 May 1941 (age 72)
Vienna, Austria
OccupationActor, producer, author
Years active1955-present
Spouse(s)Michael Verhoeven (1966-present) (2 children)
ChildrenLuca Verhoeven (b. 1979)
Simon Verhoeven

Senta Berger (born 13 May 1941) is an Austrian film, stage and television actress, producer and author.

Regarded by critics as one of the greatest actresses of the post-war period, and frequently named as one of the leading German-speaking actresses in polls, Berger has received many award nominations for her acting in theatre, film and television; her awards include three Bambi Awards, two Romys, an Adolf Grimme Award, both a Deutscher and a Bayerischer Fernsehpreis, and a Goldene Kamera.

Berger married director and producer Michael Verhoeven in 1966. They are the parents of actors Simon and Luca Verhoeven.

Early life[edit]

Berger is the daughter of musician Josef Berger and teacher Therese Jany.[1] She first appeared on stage at the age of four, when her father accompanied her singing on the piano. At the age of five she started ballet lessons.

Berger also took private acting lessons. In 1957, she won her first small role in one of the final films directed by Austrian auteur Willi Forst. She applied for the Max Reinhardt Seminar, a famous acting school in Vienna, and was accepted, but she left shortly afterwards after accepting a film role without permission. In 1958, she became the youngest member of the Josefstadt Theatre in Vienna.


Bernhard Wicki and Artur Brauner produced the film The Good Soldier Schweijk with Berger and the German actor Heinz Rühmann. Brauner used Berger in several films, but she soon tired of musicals. In 1962, she went to Hollywood and worked with stars such as Charlton Heston, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Richard Widmark, John Wayne, and Yul Brynner. She returned to Germany to accept an offer for a role in a series, which would have brought an obligation of several years.

In 1963, Berger met Michael Verhoeven, son of the German film director Paul Verhoeven (not to be confused with the Dutch Paul Verhoeven). They started their own film production company in 1965. In 1966, Senta and Michael married. In 1970, she starred for the first time in a film produced by her own company and directed by her husband. Other internationally successful films made by the duo included, amongst others, Die weiße Rose, The Nasty Girl (Das schreckliche Mädchen) and Mutters Courage. Berger continued to develop her European career in France and Italy. Also in 1966, the British film Our Man in Marrakesh, called Bang, Bang, You're Dead in the U.S., was released, starring Senta Berger opposite Tony Randall.

In November 1964, she guest starred in an episode of the U.S. television show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, entitled "The Double Affair". It was later expanded and released in cinemas as the feature film The Spy with My Face (1965). In 1966, Berger co-starred with Kirk Douglas in the movie Cast a Giant Shadow. Berger played the role of Magda, a soldier in the Israeli army during the Israeli War of Independence (1948). She played the role of a German schoolteacher involved in neo-Nazi activity opposite Max von Sydow and George Segal in The Quiller Memorandum, also released in 1966.

In 1967, Berger acted in the pilot movie for the Robert Wagner television series It Takes a Thief, which aired on American television network ABC on January 9, 1968. She reprised her role in the series in October 1969, in an episode in which her character was killed off.

On the Berlinale (2009)

In 1977, she was head of the jury at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival.[2] 21 years later, she was part of the jury at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.[3]

In the '70s, Photoplay Film Monthly said, "Approaching motherhood, Senta, the one-time militant feminist, has reverted to a docile feminine woman, just like the girl next-door." ("Starlet," Kim Holston, 1988, McFarland).

Following the birth of her two sons (including the actor-director Simon Verhoeven), Berger returned to theatre work. She played at the Burgtheater in Vienna, at the Thaliatheater in Hamburg and at the Schillertheater in Berlin. Between 1974 and 1982, she played the “Buhlschaft” in the play Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival with Curd Jürgens and Maximilian Schell. She also acted alongside Schell and James Coburn in a supporting role in the acclaimed war film Cross of Iron (1977). In 1985–86, Berger started a comeback in front of German-speaking audiences in the TV serial Kir Royal. Further serial hits followed, like The Fast Gerti, where she played a taxi driver.

In the same year, she also started a career as a singer of Chansons. 2005 saw her in the film, Einmal so wie ich will, as a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who finds love on holiday, but turns her back on the relationship.

Since February 2003, Berger has been president of the German Film Academy, which seeks to advance the new generation of actors and actresses in Germany and Europe. The Academy will decide the assignment of the German Film Awards in the future.


In the spring of 2006, Berger's autobiography was published in Germany: Ich habe ja gewußt, daß ich fliegen kann ("I Knew That I Could Fly"). Among her memories of Hollywood are a less-than-subtle attempt by Darryl Zanuck to get her on his casting couch, and of all the shallow people she met in Hollywood.

Honours and awards[edit]

Her star on Boulevard of Stars (2011)

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

Selected filmography[edit]

1959The JourneyServing Girl in Black Scarf
1961The Secret WaysElsa
1961The Miracle of Father MalachiaYvonne Krüger
1962Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly NecklaceMrs. Ellen Blackmore
1963The VictorsTrudi
1964The Spy with My FaceSerena
1964See How They RunOrlando Miller
1965Major DundeeTeresa Santiago
1965The Glory GuysLou Woddard
1966Cast a Giant ShadowMagda Simon
1966Our Man in MarrakeshKyra Stanovy
1966The Treasure of San GennaroMaggie
1966The Quiller MemorandumInge Lindt
1967The AmbushersFrancesca Madeiros
1967Diabolically YoursChristiane
1969De SadeAnne de Montreuil
1969Giacomo Casanova: Childhood and AdolescenceGiulietta Cavamacchia
1970When Women Had TailsFilli
1971Roma BenePrincess Dedé Marescalli
1973Bisturi la mafia biancaSuor Maria
1973The Scarlet LetterHester Prynne
1976The Swiss ConspiracyDenise Abbott
1977Cross of IronEva
1978Nest of VipersCarla Richter
1985The Two Lives of Mattia PascalClara
1986Killing CarsMarie Landauer
1990Tre colonne in cronacaCountess Odessa Bonaveri
1998Bin ich schön?Unna
2009Ob ihr wollt oder nicht!Dorothea
2010Satte Farben vor SchwarzAnita
1964The Man From U.N.C.L.E.Serena(TV series, 1 episode)
1966The Poppy Is Also a FlowerMaxine
1968It Takes a ThiefClaire Vickers(TV series, 1 episode)
1969It Takes a ThiefClaire Vickers/Laurie James(TV series, 1 episode)
1990La belle Anglaise(TV series, 1 episode)
1992Sie und ErCharlotte
1992Lilli LottofeeLilli
1994Gefangene Liebe
1994-96ÄrzteDr. Margarethe Martin(TV series, 8 episodes)
1995Kommissar RexKarla Wilke(TV series, 1 episode)
1996Mein Sohn ist kein Mörder!Sarah Renzi
1997Kap der RacheLilian
1997Die Nacht der NächteTeresa
1999Liebe und weitere KatastrophenFranziska Ackermann
1999Rosamunde Pilcher - Das große ErbeAlex Gower
1999Mit fünfzig küssen Männer andersMarie Mechlenburg
2000Zimmer mit FrühstückElisabeth
2000TrennungsfieberDr. Carla Severin-Bauer
2000Scharf aufs LebenSolveigh Kronberg
2000Probieren Sie's mit einem JüngerenAnna
2002Bis dass dein Tod uns scheidetEdith Mosbach
2004Die KonferenzCornelia Cordes
2005Einmal so wie ich willEmma Bauer
2005Emilia - Die zweite ChanceDr. Emilia Seiler
2005Emilia - FamilienbandeDr. Emilia Seiler
2006Nette Nachbarn küsst man nichtHelga Forstmann
2008Rosamunde Pilcher - Vier JahreszeitenJulia Combe(TV mini-series, 4 episodes)
2009SchlaflosCarla Sagmeister
2009Frau Böhm sagt NeinRita Böhm
2009Mama kommt!Luise Fischer
2010Liebe am FjordPernille(TV series, 1 episode)
2012Operation ZuckerDorothee Lessing(TV Thriller)
2013Und alle haben geschwiegenLuisa Hamilton(TV Drama)



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Berlinale 1977: Juries". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1998 Juries". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  4. ^ "Reply to a Parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 1290. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 

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