Wolfgang Zilzer

Wolfgang Zilzer (January 20, 1901 June 26, 1991) was a German-American stage and film actor, often under the stage name Paul Andor.

Wolfgang Zilzer
Born(1901-01-20)January 20, 1901
DiedJune 26, 1991(1991-06-26) (aged 90)
Berlin, Germany
Other namesPaul Andor
John Voight
Years active19151986
Spouse(s)Lotte Palfi


Zilzer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to German-Jewish emigrant Max Zilzer, who was engaged at the local theater. Zilzer's mother died soon after his birth, and his father returned to Germany in 1905.

Zilzer appeared on stage in child roles and made his first movie appearance in the age of 14. Around 1930, he moved back to the United States, but had only small success as an actor. He returned to Germany. According to a 1943 Jewish Telegraphic Agency newspaper article, he "was a featured player of UFA in the palmy days before the Furore [Hitler]",[1] but after Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Zilzer fled to France, where he worked dubbing voices in several French versions of Hollywood productions. In 1935, Zilzer returned to Germany again, finally emigrating to the US in 1937. Applying for a visa at the U.S. embassy, he first realized he already had US citizenship. After his emigration, he started to work with Ernst Lubitsch in several anti-Nazi movies, using pseudonyms[1] to protect his father, who was still living in Berlin. With appearances in films from 1915 to 1986, Zilzer had one of the longest careers in cinema history. The Internet Broadway Database lists a single credit for a Wolfgang Zilzer, in the 1943 play The Barber Had Two Sons.[2]

Zilzer married the German-Jewish actress Lotte Palfi; both appeared in the 1942 movie Casablanca. Zilzer played the man without a passport who is shot by French policemen at the beginning of the film. After World War II, Zilzer performed on stage in the United States and in Germany.

At the end of the 1980s Zilzer contracted Parkinson's disease and decided to return to Germany. His wife refused to do so, and their marriage ended in divorce after almost 50 years, close to both their deaths.

Wolfgang Zilzer died in Berlin on June 26, 1991 aged 90 and is buried at the Waldfriedhof Zehlendorf.

Selected filmography

Partial television credits



  • John Holmstrom, The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 17.
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