The actor, theater director, singer, speaker, and author Burghart Klaußner, born in 1949 in Berlin, first studied German and theater studies at the Freie Universität Berlin before he committed to studying drama at the Max-Reinhardt-Schule in Berlin. As of 1970 he was involved in various theaters in Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Bochun, and Zurich. As a film actor, he achieved wide recognition in 2005 for his role as Justus Hardenberg, who is kidnapped by rebelling youth in the film »Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei« (Eng. »The Edukators«). In the same year, he played the former mayor of Berlin Ernst Reuter in »Die Luftbrücke – Nur der Himmel war frei« (Eng. »The Airlift«) and acted alongside Götz George in »Der Novembermann« (2007). He also appeared as a judge in »The Reader« (2008) and as a pastor in Michael Haneke’s 2009 »Das weiße Band« (Eng. »The White Ribbon«) which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes. In the ZDF trilogy »Das Adlon« (2013) he played the founder of the famous hotel and played the title role in the 2015 political thriller »Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer« (»The People vs. Fritz Bauer«). The actor has earned numerous accolades, including the 2005 and 2010 German Film Prize, the award for best actor at the 2006 Locarno Film Festival, and the 2009 and 2016 Preis der deutschen Filmkritik. Klaußner made his début as a director in 2006 at the Hamburger Kammerspiele with his production of Edward Albee’s »The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?«. He staged his own first play »Marigold« (2009) at the Bochum Schauspielhaus. Klaußner is also passionate about music. Together with his band he has toured throughout Germany and presented French chansons and songs from Cole Porter, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, etc. Klaußner can be heard as a voice actor in many audio books of works from Conrad Ferdinand Meyer to Ferdinand von Schirach.
Klaußner published his début novel »Vor dem Anfang« (tr: Before the Beginning) in 2018. In it, he tells the history of the involuntarily connected fate of two men who have survived the Nazi years and World War II in Germany and receive a deadly task shortly before the end of that terrible time: they are asked to bring their unit’s cash box to the Reich’s aviation ministry – across the contested city and right to the middle of Berlin, on old wobbly bicycles that are the only remaining form of transportation. Amid the gloom and decay, there is a human warmth that keeps the hope for a new beginning alive.
Burghart Klaußner is a member of the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg and in 2010 was elected to the board of the Deutsche Filmakademie. He lives in Hamburg.