Ulrich Muehe, 54; German actor starred in ‘The Lives of Others’

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ulrich Muehe, 54, a German actor who starred in the Oscar-winning film “The Lives of Others,” died Sunday of stomach cancer in Walbeck, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, town mayor Brunhilde Vucke told the Associated Press.

A well-known theater and television actor in Germany, Muehe was diagnosed with cancer in February, amid the fanfare for “The Lives of Others,” which won the 2007 Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

Muehe also won several film awards for his role as Gerd Weisler, an East German Stasi secret police surveillance expert who listens in on the life of an artist couple -- a playwright and an actress -- and comes to sympathize with their plight.

Born June 20, 1953, in Grimma, in communist East Germany, Muehe trained as a construction worker before serving in the military. He then studied acting in Leipzig at the Hans Otto Theaterhochschule, one of Germany’s oldest acting schools.


On Nov. 4, 1989, Muehe was among a group of East Berlin artists who took part in a demonstration against the state.

After the Berlin Wall fell, Muehe went on to act in stage, film and TV productions in the West.