Rudolph Schildkraut (April 27, 1862 - July 15, 1930) was an
Austrian film and theatre actor.
Schildkraut was born in Istanbul, in the Ottoman Empire, to
a Jewish family. His parents ran a hotel. He grew up in Brăila, Romania. In
Vienna, he received acting lessons from Friedrich Mitterwurzer. He debuted in
the early 1880s in Sopro, his first solid role came in 1885 in Krems.
In 1893 he moved to Vienna to an engagement at the newly
opened Raimund Theater. In 1898 he moved to the Carl Theatre. Among other
things, he played the character Wurm in Love and Intrigue. In 1900 he came to
the German Theatre in Hamburg, 1905 to the German German Theatre in Berlin.
There he became one of the most important actor in the theatre company players
of Max Reinhardt. His Shylock, which he played in 1905 and 1913 in Reinhardt's
productions of The Merchant of Venice was praised by Fritz Kortner as a
"monument to the art of acting." Other major roles were the title
role in King Lear (1908), Mephisto in Faust I (1909), Muley Hassan in Friedrich
Schiller's Fiesco (1909), the grave-digger in Hamlet (1909) and Peter Bast in
Knut Hamsun's From the devil fetched (1914). Schildkraut performed for the
first time in the United States in 1910/11.
Schildkraut was known as a film actor in the German Empire
in the early silent era. He starred in several film dramas. His last
European-made film was a biography of the German Zionism founder Theodor Herzl,
in which he played Herb Schildt "The struggling Israel." In 1920 he
moved permanently to America and made his debut the same year in New York City
in the play Silent Forces. From 1922 he also played in the English language. In
1925 he founded his own Jewish theatre in The Bronx.
In his last five years he appeared in several Hollywood
productions. His most notable film, which raised his profile in America, was
The King of Kings by Cecil B. DeMille in 1927 in which he played the High
He was married to Erna (Weinstein), with whom he had a son,
Joseph Schildkraut (1896–1964), who was also known as an actor.
Schildkraut died at the age of 67 years of a heart attack,
in Los Angeles. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood,
CA. His son also died at the same age, also of a heart attack.