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Austrian actor Peter Simonischek dies aged 76

Austrian actor Peter Simonischek, who played a whimsical patriarch in the prize-winning film “Toni Erdmann”, died overnight in Vienna aged 76, a spokeswoman for the Austrian Federal Theatres said Tuesday.

Born in Graz on 6 August 1946, Simonischek received great acclaim in the German-speaking world for his performances, including numerous appearances at the famous Salzburg Festival.

In 2016, Simonischek made his international breakthrough in film in the comedy “Toni Erdmann”, which won the International Federation of Film Critics award at Cannes.

The bittersweet father-daughter tale features Sandra Hueller and Simonischek, who created an indelible portrait of a sad clown. 

Britain’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper gave the “exquisite” movie five out of five stars. “Not only does German humour exist, it might just save your life”, it said.

Austria’s Secretary of State, Andrea Mayer, hailed Simonischek as “one of the big names of contemporary acting for decades in theatre as well as in film and television.”

“Simonischek’s death is a huge loss for the entire art and culture scene,” Mayer said.

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