Wolfgang Heinz

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Heinz, Wolfgang


Born May 18, 1900, in Pilsen (present-day Plzeň, Czechoslovakia). German actor and stage director of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Member of the Communist Party of Germany from 1930 and of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany since 1956. Member of the Academy of Arts of the GDR.

Heinz began his stage career in 1917. Between 1920 and 1933 he performed in the German Theater in Berlin and the Kammerspiel in Hamburg. He emigrated after the seizure of power by the Nazis. From 1934 to 1946 he worked in the Zürich Schauspielhaus. In 1948 he helped found La Scala in Vienna, where he served as artistic director from 1951 to 1956. In 1956 he joined the company of the German Theater in Berlin, serving as artistic director there from 1963 to 1970. In 1962 and 1963 he was with the Berlin Volksbühne Theater.

Heinz was outstanding in tragic roles, such as Shylock and lago in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Othello and the titie role in Lessing’s Nathan the Wise. He also excelled in character roles, including Pastor Manders in Ibsen’s Ghosts, Teterev in Gorky’s Smug Citizens, and the Cook in Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children. He played the title role in F. Wolf’s play Professor Mamlock (1967), as well as in the film version, directed by Wolf in 1961. Heinz himself has directed plays by M. Gorky, N. F. Pogodin, and other Soviet dramatists, as well as Brecht, Shakespeare, and A. N. Ostrovskii.

In 1966, Heinz became president of the Union of Theater Workers of the GDR. He was awarded the National Prize of the GDR in 1954 and 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.