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Cinema

Austrian Actor Helmut Berger, Movie Star in the 1960s and ’70s, Dies at 78

BERLIN — Austrian-born actor Helmut Berger, a European movie star in the 1960s and 1970s who rose to prominence with roles in films by Italian director Luchino Visconti, died Thursday, his agent said. He was 78.

Berger died “peacefully but nevertheless unexpectedly” early Thursday in his home city of Salzburg, agent Helmut Werner wrote on his management company’s website.

Berger was born in Bad Ischl, Austria on May 29, 1944. In 1964, he worked as a film extra in Rome before being discovered by Visconti, who would later become his partner and in 1966 gave him his first role. He played prominent roles in Visconti’s “The Damned,” “Ludwig” and “Conversation Piece.”

FILE – Actor Helmut Berger, right, speaks with from left, actor Jeremie Renier, actress Aymeline Valade, and director Bertrand Bonello for the screening of Saint-Laurent at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Berger’s credits also included appearances in Vittorio De Sica’s “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” Massimo Dallamano’s “Dorian Gray,” and, later, in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III.”

After a string of health problems, Berger announced the end of his acting career in November 2019.

Berger’s agent said that “he enjoyed his motto ‘La Dolce Vita’ to the full all his life.” He quoted Berger as saying many years ago: “I have lived three lives, and in four languages! Je ne regrette rien!”

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