Anton Diffring is one of those actors who isn't very famous, but you've probably seen him and would recognise him. He was born as 'Alfred Pollack' in Germany in 1918
, and, after emigrating to Canada in 1938 to flee the Nazis
, he specialised in playing Nazi officer
s in war films, not necessarily because he liked it, but because he was thin, had an aristocratic
bearing and looked good in black leather
. This led to him becoming typecast, although he found regular work.
As with many character actors he appeared in dozens of films - 93, according to the IMDB - and you've probably seen him in 'Where Eagles Dare' ('SIT! DOWN! MAJOR!'), 'The Heroes of Telemark', 'The Colditz Story', 'Escape to Victory', 'The Winds of War' (as Joachim von Ribbentrop) and many more. He usually ended up being shot or blown up at the end of the film.
And in real life he died, too, in 1989, of natural causes. Other famous cinematic Nazis include Harvey Kruger and, much less commonly, James Mason (the film 'The Blue Max' is a useful 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' item here, as it featured Mason, Diffring, and Derren Nesbitt, who also played a Nazi officer in 'Where Eagles Dare').
Away from war films, he also had major roles in 'Fahrenheit 451' and 'I am a Camera'.