Austrian actor Helmut Berger dies aged 78

Berger performs as Don Juan in Vienna, Austria, in 2003 (AP)© Stephan Trierenberg

By AP Reporters

Austrian-born actor Helmut Berger, a European movie star in the 1960s and 1970s who rose to prominence with roles in films by Italian director Luchino Visconti, has died aged 78.

Berger died “peacefully but nevertheless unexpectedly” early on Thursday in his home city of Salzburg, agent Helmut Werner wrote on his management company’s website.

The actor was born in Bad Ischl, Austria on May 29 1944.

Berger attends the presentation of his autobiography in Berlin in 1998 (AP)© Hans Edinger

In 1964, he worked as a film extra in Rome before being discovered by Visconti, who would later become his partner and in 1966 gave him his first role. He played prominent roles in Visconti’s The Damned, Ludwig and Conversation Piece.

Berger’s credits also included appearances in Vittorio De Sica’s The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis, Massimo Dallamano’s Dorian Gray, and, later, in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III.

After a string of health problems, Berger announced the end of his acting career in November 2019.

Berger’s agent said that “he enjoyed his motto ‘La Dolce Vita’ to the full all his life”.

He quoted Berger as saying many years ago: “I have lived three lives, and in four languages! Je ne regrette rien!”

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