Christopher Waltz, an Austrian-German actor, is popularly known for this role as SS-StandartenführerHans Landa in the Quentin Tarantino
movie Inglorius Bastards
(2009). He has also been praised for his performance as the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained
(2012), another Tarantino movie. For his aforementioned performances, Waltz has won the Academy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award.
Waltz was born in Vienna, to Johannes Waltz, a German, and Elisabeth Urbancic, an Austrian. He has three siblings and his parents were costume designers. His maternal grandfather, Rudolf von Urban, was psychologist and psychiatrist. His maternal grandmother, Maria Mayen, was a Burgtheater actress, and his step-father, Emmerich Reimers, was an actor, while his great-grandparents also worked in the theater. Waltz grew up speaking German but is also fluent in English and French.
Waltz was married to Jackie, a psychotherapist, and the couple has three children, Miriam, Leon, and Rachel. He is now married to Judith Holste, who is a costume designer, and the couple is raising a daughter.
After studying at the drama school, Max Reinhardt Seminar, in Vienna, Waltz traveled to the New York City in the late 1970s. It was in New York City that Waltz studied method acting at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. He later worked as a theater actor at places such as Zurich's Schauspielhaus Zürich, and Vienna's Burgtheater. From 1980 to 2000, Waltz rose to become a prominent television actor and soon made his television directorial debut, with Wenn man sich traut. He was popular for his villainous roles, however, he wasn't able to find success in getting English projects. In 1990, he appeared in the British TV series, The Gravy Train as Dr. Hans-Joachim Dorfmann.
In 2000, Waltz portrayed the character of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the movie Reykjavik, which is based on the peace talks carried out between USSR and America in 1986. The movie received international acclaim and won several international awards. However, it was in 2009 that Waltz made his mark in the international arena with his gripping performance in the acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino's
movie, Inglorius Basterds
(2009). Portraying the clever and cunning character of SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa, Waltz gave one of the best performances of his career. He played the role with ease and impeccable finesse, making the character believable in every sense. Tarantino, in fact, thought that the character he wrote was unplayable. Waltz went on to win the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA Award, and the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance. On his performance, Tarantino said, “I think that Landa is one of the best characters I've ever written and ever will write, and Christoph played it to the tee. It's true that if I couldn't have found someone as good as Christoph I might not have made Inglourious Basterds.”
In 2011, Waltz was seen portraying the negative character, Benjamin Chudnofsky in The Green Hornet
. He appeared in two other films that same year viz. Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants
, and Roman Polanski's Carnage
. In 2012, Waltz teamed up with Tarantino once again for the movie Django Unchained
. Portraying the character of the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Waltz even suffered an injury while he was training prior to filming and injured his pelvis. For the second time in his career, Waltz went on to win the coveted Academy Award, the BAFTA Award, and the Golden Globe Award.
Waltz was also a part of the Cannes Film Festival Jury in 2013. In the same year, he also directed an opera production, Der Rosenkavalier, in Belgium. In 2014, Waltz also displayed his comic side by appearing in movies such as Horrible Bosses 2
(2014), and Muppets Most Wanted (2014). He also starred in Tim Burton's
movie, Big Eyes
(2014) and also portrayed the role of the villain, Ersnt Stavro Blofeld, in the 24th film of the James Bond franchise, Spectre
(2014). In 2016, Waltz appeared in the role of Captain Leon Rom, in the much-awaited movie, The Legend of Tarzan
, directed by David Yates