Walter Rilla

Walter Rilla (22 August 1894 21 November 1980) was a German film actor of Jewish descent.[1] He appeared in more than 130 films between 1922 and 1977. He was born in Neunkirchen, Germany and died in Rosenheim, Germany.

Walter Rilla
Born(1894-08-22)22 August 1894
Died21 November 1980(1980-11-21) (aged 86)
Years active1922–1977 (film)


Having debuted on the stage, Rilla began his film in career in Germany during the silent era. This included an early role for him in Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's The Grand Duke's Finances in 1924. Following the rise of the Nazi Party to power in 1933, he emigrated to Britain and became a regular performer in British films often in villainous or aristocratic roles. Both during and after the Second World War he played Nazi officers or agents.

From the 1950s onwards he returned to West Germany to appear in films and on television, alternating this with continued roles in British cinema. He was the father of film director Wolf Rilla, who directed him in the 1963 film Cairo.



  1. Siegbert Salomon Prawer, Between Two Worlds: The Jewish Presence in German and Austrian Film, 1910-1933, Berghahn Books (2007), pg. 213


  • Prawer, S.S. Between Two Worlds: The Jewish Presence in German and Austrian Film, 1910-1933. Berghahn Books, 2007.
  • Dove, Richard. Journey of No Return: Five German-speaking Literary Exiles in Britain, 1933-1945. Libris, 2000.
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