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Marthe Keller

Marthe Keller
Born (1945-01-28) 28 January 1945
Basel, Switzerland
Occupation Actress
Years active 1964–present

Marthe Keller (born 28 January 1945 in Basel, Switzerland) is a Swiss actress and opera director. She studied ballet as a child, but stopped after a skiing accident at age 16. She changed to acting, and worked in Berlin at the Schiller Theatre and the Berliner Ensemble.[1]

Keller's earliest film appearances were in Funeral in Berlin (1966, uncredited) and the German film Wilder Reiter GmbH (1967). She appeared in a series of French films in the 1970s, including Un cave (1971), La raison du plus fou (1973) and Toute une vie (And Now My Love, 1974). Her most famous American film appearances are her Golden Globe-nominated performance as Dustin Hoffman's girlfriend in Marathon Man and her performance as a femme fatale pro-Palestinian terrorist who leads an attack on the Super Bowl in Black Sunday. Keller also acted with William Holden in the 1978 Billy Wilder film Fedora. She appeared alongside Al Pacino in the auto racing film Bobby Deerfield, and subsequently the two of them were involved in a relationship. Since then, Keller has worked more steadily in European cinema compared to American movies. Her later films include Dark Eyes, with Marcello Mastroianni.[2]

In 2001, Keller appeared in an all-star Broadway adaptation of Abby Mann's play Judgment at Nuremberg, directed by John Tillinger, as Mrs. Bertholt (the role played by Marlene Dietrich in the 1961 Stanley Kramer film version).[3][4] She was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress for this performance.

In addition to her work in film and theatre, Keller has developed a career in classical music as a speaker and opera director. She has performed the speaking role of Joan of Arc in Arthur Honegger's oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher on several occasions, with conductors such as Seiji Ozawa[5][6] and Kurt Masur.[7] She has recorded the role for Deutsche Grammophon with Ozawa (DG 429 412-2). Keller has also recited the spoken part in Igor Stravinsky's Perséphone.[8][9] She has performed classical music melodramas for speaker and piano in recital.[10] The Swiss composer Michael Jarrell wrote the melodrama Cassandre, after the novel of Christa Wolf, for Keller, who gave the world premiere in 1994.

Keller's first production as an opera director was Dialogues des Carmélites, for Opéra National du Rhin, in 1999. This production subsequently received a semi-staged performance in London that year.[11] She has also directed Lucia di Lammermoor for Washington National Opera and for Los Angeles Opera.[12] Her directorial debut at the Metropolitan Opera was in a 2004 production of Don Giovanni.[13][14][15]

Keller has a son, Alexandre (born 1971), from her relationship with Philippe de Broca.

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Director
1966 Funeral in Berlin uncredited Guy Hamilton
1970 La demoiselle d'Avignon, France (TV series)
1971 Arsène Lupin (TV series) Countess Natasha several
1972 The Old Maid Vicka Jean-Pierre Blanc
1974 Only the Wind Knows the Answer Angela Delpierre Alfred Vohrer
And Now My Love Sarah/her mother/her grandmother Claude Lelouch
1975 Down the Ancient Staircase Bianca Mauro Bolognini
1976 Marathon Man Elsa Opel John Schlesinger
1977 Black Sunday Dahlia Iyad John Frankenheimer
Bobby Deerfield Lillian Sydney Pollack
1978 Fedora Fedora/Antonia Billy Wilder
1980 The Formula Lisa Spangler John G. Avildsen
1981 The Amateur Elisabeth Charles Jarrott
1985 Red Kiss Bronka Véra Belmont
Joan Lui Judy Johnson Adriano Celentano
1987 Dark Eyes Tina Nikita Mikhalkov
1994 My Friend Max Catherine Mercier Michel Brault
1996 Sostiene Pereira Mrs. Delgado Roberto Faenza
1998 The School of Flesh Misses Thorpe Benoît Jacquot
2002 Time of the Wolf Rebecca McGregor Rod Priddy
2007 Chrysalis Professor Brügen Julien Leclercq
2010 Hereafter the Swiss doctor Clint Eastwood
2011 The Giants Rosa Bouli Lanners
2011 Page Eight Leona Chew David Hare
2011 Mein Bester Feind Hannah Kaufmann Wolfgang Murnberger


  1. ^ Cori Ellison, "Reaching the Top of the Opera World by Accident". New York Times, 29 February 2004.
  2. ^ , 25 September 1987.New York Times Comedy Based on Chekhov Tales". Dark Eyes,Vincent Canby, "
  3. ^ , 27 March 2001.New York TimesBruce Weber, "On Evil and the Citizen, No Answers Are Easy".
  4. ^ Magazine, 9 April 2001.New YorkJohn Simon, "Stoppard Unstoppered".
  5. ^ , 13 December 1984.New York Times. Jeanne d'ArcDonal Henehan, "Honegger's
  6. ^ , 15 August 1989.New York Times A Honegger Extravaganza". Joan of Arc at the Stake,Bernard Holland, "
  7. ^ , 8 April 1994.New York Times Gives Life to a Long-Ago Feminist". Jeanne d'ArcJames R. Oestreich, "Masur's
  8. ^ , 4 October 1999.New York TimesAnthony Tommasini, "Masur and a Multitude Offer Seldom-Heard Stravinsky".
  9. ^ , 25 April - 1 May 2003.Boston PhoenixLloyd Schwartz, "Winding down or revving up?".
  10. ^ , 23 March 1992.New York TimesWords of the Romantics, Accompanied by Piano".
  11. ^ , 6 August 1999.The GuardianMichael Billington, "A soulful martyrdom".
  12. ^ , 15 December 2003.San Francisco ChronicleJoshua Kosman, "Netrebko's voice buoys L.A. 'Lucia'".
  13. ^ , 3 March 2004.New York TimesAnthony Tommasini, "A Monster From Mozart, Oozing Seductive Charm".
  14. ^ Martin Bernheimer, "Don Giovanni/Metropolitan Opera, New York". Financial Times, 3 March 2004.
  15. ^ , 22 March 2004.New York MagazinePeter G. Davis, "Shaving Crème".

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