Günter Meisner

Günter Meisner
Born (1926-04-18)18 April 1926
Bremen, Germany
Died 5 December 1994(1994-12-05) (aged 68)
Berlin, Germany
Cause of death Heart failure
Occupation Actor
Years active 1957–1994
Spouse(s) Gisela Albrecht Meisner (?-1994) (his death)

Günter Meisner (18 April 1926 – 5 December 1994) was a German TV and film character actor. He is remembered for his several cinematic portrayals of Adolf Hitler and for his role as Mr. Slugworth in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He was fluent in four languages and appeared in many English-language, German-language and French-language films.


Born in Bremen, Meisner briefly worked at a steel foundry before training as a radio operator with the Luftwaffe's Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers). After the war, though he was interested in a career in sculpture and painting, in 1948 he switched to drama and studied under Gustaf Gründgens at Düsseldorf's State Conservatory, where he also got his first job at the local Schauspielhaus.

Film and TV

Meisner often played stock character Nazi officers and other sinister characters. He portrayed Hitler in the 1982 Franco-German action comedy, L'as des as (Ace of Aces), and in the ABC television miniseries, The Winds of War. He also appeared in the CBS miniseries, Blood and Honor and the ITV's, Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years.

Other films Meisner took part in were Is Paris Burning?, The Quiller Memorandum, Funeral in Berlin, and The Boys from Brazil. He was Mr. Slugworth/Mr. Wilkinson in the 1971 film version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. He also appeared in several television commercials.


As a theatre actor and director, Meisner founded the Gallery Diogenes in Berlin in 1959 for visual art und mainly absurd theater. In 1961, he also founded the International Association for Arts and Sciences.


From 1967 to 1969 Meisner participated in relief efforts in Biafra, Nigeria. He also produced two films criticising racial discrimination: Don't Look for Me in Places Where I Can't Be Found and Bega Dwa Bega (One for All), a Swahili-language film for the Tanzanian Film Unit.


On 5 December 1994, Meisner died, aged 68, of heart failure during the filming of an episode of the television series Tatort. He is buried in Berlin's Friedhof Heerstraße Cemetery. He was survived by his wife.

Selected filmography

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