Ellen Schwiers

Ellen Schwiers (11 June 1930 26 April 2019) was a German actress of stage, film, and television. She was featured in world premieres of plays by Dürrenmatt and Frisch at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, and appeared as Buhlschaft in Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival. In a career from 1949 to 2015, she also appeared in more than 200 films and television shows, including popular series such as Tatort. She also directed plays, founded a touring theatre company in 1982, and was Intendant of a festival from 1984.

Ellen Schwiers
Ellen Schwiers in 2008
Born(1930-06-11)11 June 1930
Stettin, Pomerania, Germany
Died26 April 2019(2019-04-26) (aged 88)
Starnberg, Germany
  • Actress
  • Stage director
Years active1952–2015
Peter Jacob
(m. 1956; died 1992)
Parent(s)Lutz Schwiers


Schwiers was born in Stettin on 11 June 1930,[1] the daughter of Lutz Schwiers, a travelling actor[2] who trained her.[1] Her earliest theatre engagement was at the Theater Koblenz from 1949, and she was then engaged by Heinz Hilpert at the Theater Göttingen in 1953.[3] Her first major role was the title role in Lessing's Minna von Barnhelm.[1] She played in the world premieres of Dürrenmatt's Der Meteor and Frisch's Biografie: Ein Spiel at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. She was internationally recognised for playing Buhlschaft in Jedermann at the Salzburg Festival in 1961 and 1962,[4][5] a role that she also played in a 1961 film, alongside Walther Reyer in the title role.[6]

Schwiers appeared in more than 200 television productions, including popular series such as Tatort, Der rote Schal and Doktor Martin.[7]

Schwiers first directed a play at the Burgfestspiele Jagsthausen, Shakespeare's Was ihr wollt (Twelfth Night). In 1984, she became Intendant of the festival.[4]

Schwiers married Peter Jacob in 1956.[2] Their daughter Katerina Jacob also became an actress. Their son Daniel, also an actor, died of cancer in 1985 at the age of 21.[8] She is also the grandmother of Josephine Jacob.[9] Schwiers founded a touring theatre company with her husband and daughter, Das Ensemble, which she kept running after her husband's death in 1992, and then passed to her daughter.[4] She last appeared on stage at the age of 84 in the comedy Altweiberfrühling, with her daughter and her brother Holger Schwiers.[2][10]

Schwiers died at her home in Starnberg on 26 April 2019.[2][4][8]


The first film role for Schwiers was Hildegard in Heimliches Rendezvous in 1949, directed by Kurt Hoffmann.[2] She appeared in more than 60 films,[2][7] including:[6]



  1. "Trauer um Schauspielerin Ellen Schwiers" (in German). BR. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  2. Fischer, Gerhard (26 April 2019). "Ellen Schwiers ist tot". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  3. Andreas Kotte, ed. (2005). "Ellen Schwiers". Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer [Theater Dictionary of Switzerland]. 3. Zürich: Chronos. p. 1664. ISBN 978-3-0340-0715-3. LCCN 2007423414. OCLC 62309181.
  4. Rodek, Hanns-Georg (26 April 2019). "Ellen Schwiers † / Sie war die Leidenschaft mit den Glutaugen". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  5. "Salzburger Festspiele: "Buhlschaft" und "Jedermann" seit 1920". Salzburg Festival. 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  6. "Ellen Schwiers". Film Portal (in German). Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  7. "Im Alter von 88 Jahren / Bekannte Schauspielerin am Starnberger See verstorben" (in German). TZ. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  8. "Nach langer Krankheit Schauspielerin Ellen Schwiers gestorben" (in German). Tagesschau. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  9. Fast 35 Jahre nach ihrer Geburt: Katerina Jacob verrät, wer der Vater ihrer Tochter ist s.S. t-online.de
  10. "Ellen Schwiers ist tot" (in German). Das Ensemble. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  11. "Deutscher Schauspielpreis-Gewinner 2013". Schauspielpreis. Berlin. 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
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