Which contemporary German actresses and actors are best-known outside of German-speaking Europe today?

Who are the “hottest” / best-known German actresses and actors outside of German-speaking Europe today?

Contemporary actors in the US – Which contemporary German actresses and actors are best-known outside of German-speaking Europe today?:

  • Diane Kruger – Known for her lead role in the National Treasure series and Inglourious Basterds.
  • Christoph Waltz – Cannes and Oscar winner, famous for salvaging Inglourious Basterds for Tarantino. He is actually Austrian, but I bet most Americans do not realize this.
  • Daniel Brühl – Played the lead in several German films that became popular in the US “arthouse” circuit, such as Goodbye Lenin! and The Edukators. Had a bit part in the Bourne Ultimatum and was also in <wait for it> Inglourious Basterds.
  • Bruno Ganz – Although technically Swiss, his performance in The Downfall (and its appropriation into a YouTube meme) will forever be associate him with the most infamous German dictator ever. Only Charlie Chaplin may have played this character better.
  • Franka Potente – Captured the American “arthouse” imagination with Run Lola Run. Also played the romantic lead in The Bourne Identity.
  • Heidi Klum – Not really an actress, but probably the most famous contemporary German “entertainer” in America.
  • Werner Herzog – Although a director, he had multi-episode arc in Entourage and a turn in Harmony Korine’s Julian Donkey-Boy and Mister Lonely

Historical actors in the US:

  • Marlene Dietrich – one of the greastest female actresses of all time.
  • Ernst Lubitsch – mostly a director, who occasionally acted, but still a noteworthy German.
  • Klaus Kinski – ultimate badass, don’t mess with him
  • Nastassja Kinski – Klaus’ daughter and a different type of badass. I don’t think you can really be normal if your father is Klaus Kinski.

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