German thesp Ulrich Muehe, who played the lead in this year’s foreign-language Oscar winner “The Lives of Others,” died July 22 of stomach cancer in Walbeck, Germany. He was 54.
He was diagnosed with cancer in February, amid the hype surrounding “The Lives of Others,” for which he won prizes at the European Film Awards, the Munich Film Fest and the German Film Awards for his role as Gerd Weisler, a 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. Muhe also appeared in Dani Levy’s recent comedy “My Fuhrer: The Absolutely Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler,” which was a B.O. hit in Germany.
Born 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.
He is survived by his wife, actress Susanne Lothar, and their two children, as well as a daughter, actress Anna Maria Muehe, from his previous marriage to actress Jenny Groellmann.