Photo of Klaus Kinski Klaus Kinski

Director Werner Herzog once said, "People like Brando are just kindergarten compared to Kinski"; not surprisingly, Klaus Kinski made his mark in roles that called for an intensity and aggressiveness bordering on madness.

Born Oct. 18, 1926, in Sopot, Poland, Kinski began working on the German stage after World War II, quickly gaining fame as a monologist (in one performance, he reinterpreted the Gospels with Jesus as a raging psychopath). By the late 1940s, Kinski had broken into film, and in the '50s and '60s he played the villain in dozens of movies, including psycho-crime dramas based on Edgar Wallace novels and Italian spaghetti Westerns such as For a Few Dollars More.

It was Kinski's association with the equally intense Herzog, however, that would bring the actor lasting fame through films such as Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu (1979) and Fitzcarraldo (1982). Kinski died Nov. 23, 1991.

Klaus Kinski in Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

1972 NR

In mid-16th century South America, after completely annihilating the illustrious Incan empire, Gonzalo Pizarro leads his army of conquistadors over the Andes in search of the fabled City of Gold, El Dorado. As Pizarro's soldiers battle starvation, Indians, the forces of nature and each other, Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) is consumed with visions of total domination and leads his army on a doomed quest into oblivion.

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