Christopher Waltz (pronounced valts; born October 4, 1956) is an Austrian actor.
Life and career
Waltz was born in Vienna, Austria, to set designers Johannes Waltz and Elisabeth Urbancic. His grandparents were actors, and his great-grandparents also worked in theatre. He studied acting at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. He started as a stage actor, playing at venues like Zurich’s Schauspielhaus Zürich, Vienna’s Burgtheater, or the Salzburg Festival.
Later he became a prolific actor in various TV productions, and in 2000, directed his first film, the TV production Wenn man sich traut. In Quentin Tarantino’s war film Inglourious Basterds, Waltz portrayed Standartenführer Hans Landa, the sinister yet poetic pipe-smoking “Jew Hunter”. For this role, he received the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and has received acclaim for the performance from critics and audience members alike. Even Tarantino has acknowledged the importance of Waltz to his film. “I think that Landa is one of the best characters I’ve ever written and ever will write and Christoph played it to a tee… It’s true that if I couldn’t have found someone as good as Christoph I might not have made Inglourious Basterds.”
Waltz is fluent in German, French and English. He is divorced and has four children, and currently lives in London, England. One of his sons became a rabbi in Israel.