Helmut Berger, Actor Known for His Work With Visconti, Dies at 78

Helmut Berger, a good-looking Austrian film star who was greatest identified for showing in three characteristic movies by the Italian neorealist director Luchino Visconti, his lover for a dozen years, died on Thursday at his residence in Salzburg. He was 78.

His dying was introduced by his agent, Helmut Werner, who didn’t give a trigger.

“Many years ago,” Mr. Werner mentioned in an announcement, “Helmut Berger told me, ‘I have lived three lives. And in four languages! Je ne regrette rien.’”

Mr. Berger was finding out Italian in Perugia in 1964 when a pal launched him to Mr. Visconti, who was on location directing a movie that starred Claudia Cardinale.

“I was there watching, I was fascinated,” he advised the web site Europe of Cultures in 1988. “I wanted to see how they shot a film.”

They started a relationship quickly after that, private in addition to skilled. Mr. Visconti solid Mr. Berger in “The Damned” (1969), the story of a German metal household, impressed by the Krupps, within the early years of the Third Reich.

As Martin, the grandson of the household’s patriarch, Mr. Berger imitates Marlene Dietrich in full costume throughout a celebration for his grandfather, which ends with phrase of a hearth at the Reichstag. Martin later molests youthful kinfolk and rapes his mom (Ingrid Thulin).

Ann Guarino, reviewing the film for The Daily News of New York, mentioned Mr. Berger personified the “outright perversion” of Nazism. Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote that Mr. Berger “gives, I think, the performance of the year.” He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for most promising male newcomer.

Mr. Berger mentioned that working with Mr. Visconti was like being onstage.

“You don’t do 10-minute, five-minute takes but whole scenes, sometimes 20 minutes long,” he advised The Los Angeles Times in 1970. “He uses three cameras so you never know which one is on you. You get really into it, the whole atmosphere. He doesn’t limit you, he wants you to be free.”

Mr. Berger appeared in two extra characteristic movies directed by Mr. Visconti: “Ludwig” (1973), during which he performed the mad Nineteenth-century king of Bavaria, for which he gained a David di Donatello Award, the Italian equal of the Oscar; and “Conversation Piece” (1974), which starred Burt Lancaster as an artwork historian dwelling quietly in Rome whose life is modified by a number of individuals, together with a pushy marchesa and her gigolo lover, performed by Mr. Berger.

Mr. Canby had a radically different assessment of Mr. Berger’s work this time, calling him “a lightweight” who “can function no more than as an ideogram for decadence.”

By then, Mr. Berger and Mr. Visconti had been dwelling collectively for a while.

“During the 12 years with Luchino Visconti, I was faithful,” he told Gala magazine in 2012.

“But were you dating model Marisa Berenson at the time?” the journal’s interviewer requested.

“Of course, I’m bisexual,” he mentioned. “This is not a problem.”

Mr. Berger fell right into a deep melancholy after Mr. Visconti’s dying in 1976.

“At first I drank a lot, gluckgluckgluck, and then the pills came,” he advised Gala. “My housekeeper wasn’t supposed to come until 5 p.m. but happened to drop by at 10 a.m. and saved me.”

Helmut Berger was born Helmut Steinberger on May 29, 1944, in Bad Ischl, Austria. His dad and mom, Hedwig and Franz Steinberger, ran a lodge.

Fleeing his father, who he mentioned was brutal to him, Helmut moved first to England after which to Italy, the place he made his movie debut in “The Witches” (1967), an anthology film consisting of 5 tales, every made by a unique director. He performed a lodge web page within the phase directed by Mr. Visconti.

After a number of different movies, together with “The Damned,” Mr. Berger was solid within the title function of Massimo Dallamano’s “Dorian Gray” (1970), which billed itself as a “modern allegory” primarily based on Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” set in horny present-day London. He was one among a reported 500 actors who auditioned.

Mr. Berger “gives a trance-like performance, looking simply beautiful — if you like the type,” Ms. Guarino wrote.

He continued to work, mostly in Europe, till a number of years in the past. He notably performed the sickly son of a wealthy Jewish household dealing with Fascism in Italy in Vittorio De Sica’s “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” (1970), which gained the Oscar for greatest foreign-language movie, and the playboy who seduces Elizabeth Taylor’s character after she undergoes beauty surgical procedure in “Ash Wednesday” (1973).

He additionally portrayed the millionaire boyfriend of Fallon Carrington (Pamela Sue Martin) on “Dynasty,” the prime-time cleaning soap, in a narrative arc from 1983 to 1984, and the Vatican’s chief accountant, who tries to swindle Michael Corleone, in “The Godfather III” (1990).

Information about survivors was not instantly accessible.

Mr. Berger was identified for his jet-setting way of life, for being photographed by Andy Warhol, for being linked to girls like Bianca Jagger, and for being referred to as “the most beautiful man in the world” within the German media.

But when Gala interviewed him after the publication of the guide “Helmut Berger: A Life in Pictures,” he mentioned he was now not in search of his earlier life’s social hustle and bustle.

“I’ve experienced everything,” he mentioned. “I don’t feel like Helmut Berger, either; I’m not him. It’s a stage name. My name is Helmut Steinberger. And that’s what I’ll be until I’m dead.”

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