Berlin– The upcoming Berlin International Film Festival will honor actor Armin Mueller-Stahl with the Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement.

The prolific actor has worked with such directors as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Costa-Gavras, Andrzej Wajda, Jim Jarmusch, Steven Soderbergh and David Cronenberg in the course of his 50-year career.

One of Germany’s biggest international stars, Mueller-Stahl began his career in East Germany, appearing in such films as 1963’s “Naked Among Wolves” and 1974’s “Jacob the Liar,” both by Frank Beyer and both examining the plight of Jews during the Holocaust.

It was the East German TV series “Das unsichtbare Visier” that made Mueller-Stahl a household name in the DDR, however: in it he played an East German secret agent who battles former Nazis recruited by the CIA, foiling their efforts to control West Germany and the rest of Western Europe.

Ironically, Mueller-Stahl left the DDR in 1980 for political reasons, moving first to West Berlin, then to Hollywood.

He attracted international attention with films such as Fassbinder’s

1981 drama “Lola” and Costa-Gavras’ “Music Box” in 1989. In 1996, he was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Scott Hicks’ “Shine” and in

2003 he won the Adolf Grimme Award for his performance as Thomas Mann in Heinrich Breloer’s three-part TV film “The Manns – Novel of a Century.”

Most recently he appeared on screen in Ron Howard’s “Angels & Demons,”

Tom Tykwer’s “The International” and Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises.”

Mueller-Stahl has focused increasingly on painting and music in recent years – last month he released his debut CD “Es gibt Tage…” (There Are

Days…) with songs composed over 45 years ago in East Germany.

Making the announcement on Dec. 17, Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick also congratulated the actor on his 80th birthday: “We wish him the very best and are delighted we’ll be awarding this extraordinary artist the Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement in February.”

The Berlinale runs Feb. 10-20.