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Subject: Horst Buchholz, the 'James Dean' of Germany

Dies at 69
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Date Posted: March 03, 2003 7:37:53 EDT

Horst Buchholz, a German actor whose film roles ranged from a gunslinger in "The Magnificent Seven" and a Nazi doctor in "Life is Beautiful," died Monday of pneumonia. He was 69.

Buchholz, who was recovering from a broken thighbone, died in intensive care at the Charite hospital, spokeswoman Kerstin Ullrich said.

Dubbed the James Dean of German films for the rebellious teens he played in the late 1950s, Buchholz moved to the United States and scored his first Hollywood hit with a role in "The Magnificent Seven," the 1960 western with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and James Coburn.

The next year, director Billy Wilder cast him alongside James Cagney in "One, Two, Three." Set around the building of the Berlin Wall, the biting comedy features Cagney as a Coca-Cola executive who learns his boss' daughter has secretly married a communist, played by Buchholz.

He also made movies in Britain, Spain, Italy and France, and played a Nazi concentration camp doctor in Roberto Benigni's Oscar-winning 1997 film "Life is Beautiful."

Born Dec. 4, 1933, in Berlin's working-class Prenzlauer Berg district, the shoemaker's son survived World War II in the countryside where Nazi officials sent children to protect them from Allied bombing raids on the capital.

Buchholz landed his first stage role at 15 in a Berlin theater version of the German children's classic "Emil and the Detectives." His Broadway debut came in 1959 in "Cherie."

He is survived by his wife, Myriam Bru, and two children. Funeral arrangements were pending.

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