Gustav von Seyffertitz

Gustav von Seyffertitz (4 August 1862 25 December 1943) was a German film actor and director. He settled in the United States. He was born in Haimhausen, Bavaria and died in Los Angeles, California, aged 81.

Gustav von Seyffertitz
Seyffertitz in Mystery Liner (1934)
Gustav Carl Viktor Bodo Maria von Seyffertitz

(1862-08-04)4 August 1862
Died25 December 1943(1943-12-25) (aged 81)
Years activeca. 1880–1939
Spouse(s)Katharina Hoffmann (1886)
Toni Creutzburg (1894)
Eugenie von Mink
Nelly Thorne[1]
ChildrenWilhelm (1882)
Joan Goodridge


Gustav von Seyffertitz was born into an aristocratic family as the son of Guido Freiherr von Seyffertitz and his wife Anna Gräfin von Butler Clonebough zu Haimhausen. His family expected him to start a military career, but was shocked when he said that he wanted to be an actor. He was a member of the Meiningen Court Theatre and also appeared in operas. He emigrated to the United States in 1896, after being asked by the Austrian-American theatre director Heinrich Conried. Despite his thick German accent, he was successful on Broadway where he worked as a stage actor and director during the 1900s and 1910s. He appeared as an actor in such lavish productions as The Brass Bottle in 1910. This play was turned into several films and was the idea for the television show I Dream of Jeannie in the 1960s.[2] He made his film debut in 1917, appearing with Douglas Fairbanks in Down to Earth.

In his films, the dignified-looking Seyffertitz often played the "very embodiment of the Hideous Hun - America's notion of the merciless, atrocity-happy German military officer".[3] One of his most successful film roles was Professor Moriarty in 1922's Sherlock Holmes with John Barrymore. He also played the antagonist to Mary Pickford in Sparrows (1926) and appeared as Ramon Novarro's uncle in Ernst Lubitsch's The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927). He continued his career into the sound film and portrayed supporting roles in the Josef von Sternberg-Marlene Dietrich films Dishonored (1931) and Shanghai Express (1932). Among his later film roles was a parody on Sigmund Freud in Frank Capra's film classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). He appeared in 118 films between 1917 and 1939.

Seyffertitz was married five times and had numerous children.[4]


As actor

As director

  • The Secret Garden (1919)
  • Princess Jones (1922)
  • Closed Doors (1922)
  • Peggy Puts It Over (1922)


  1. "Gustav von Seyffertitz, The true Hollywood Artistocrat". Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  2. "Gustav von Seyffertitz at Internet Broadway Database". IBDb. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  3. "Gustav von Seyffertitz, Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  4. "Gustav von Seyffertitz, The true Hollywood Artistocrat". Retrieved 15 June 2019.
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