Sebastian Koch

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Sebastian Koch
Koch in 2011.
Born (1962-05-31) 31 May 1962 (age 59)
Karlsruhe, West Germany
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990–present

Sebastian Koch (born 31 May 1962) is a German television and film actor and recipient of various German film awards. He is perhaps best known in the United States for his role in the 2007 Academy Award winning film The Lives of Others and co-starring Bruce Willis in A Good Day to Die Hard, and he has a featured role in the 2015 film Bridge of Spies.

Life and career

Koch was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, and grew up in Stuttgart. His mother brought him up alone, and he spent some time in the children's home where she worked. From 1982 to 1985 Koch studied at the Otto Falckenberg School in Munich, and performed during this time with the Theater der Jugend (Youth Theatre).

After appearing at the municipal theatres of Ulm and Darmstadt, Koch started appearing in Berlin theatres in 1990. There he acted in works including Schiller's The Robbers, Goethe's Iphigenie auf Tauris and Dirty Dishes by Nick Whitby. Besides numerous film and TV roles, Koch also made frequent cameos in popular German crime series during this time.

Following his acclaimed portrayal of Andreas Baader in Heinrich Breloer's docudrama de (Todesspiel), he appeared in many full-length television dramas.

His breakthrough roles came in 2001 with the portrayal of the kidnapped Richard Oetker (son of industrialist Rudolf August Oetker) in de (Der Tanz mit dem Teufel; Dance with the Devil – The Kidnapping of Richard Oetker), and of the writer Klaus Mann in Heinrich Breloer's docudrama de (Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman; The Manns – A Novel of the Century). Koch received the Adolf Grimme Award for both roles, and is the only actor to have won the award for two different productions in one year. For his portrayal of Hitler's would-be assassin, the title character in Jo Baier's Stauffenberg, Koch was nominated for the German Television Awards and the Grimme Award, and received the Golden Gong award from the media magazine Gong.

In 2004, Koch appeared in a Heinrich Breloer production for the third time. This time he played the Nazi architect Albert Speer in Speer und Er ("Speer and He", released as Speer and Hitler: The Devil's Architect). 2006 saw the premiere in German cinemas of the drama Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), winner of the 2007 Academy Award for best international film,[1] in which Koch played a leading role.[2]

From 2006 to 2007, he appeared at Bochum Theatre after a 12-year absence from the stage, playing Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband. Again in 2006 he portrayed Reinhard Mohn in the film adaptation of his life.

Koch, along with Yuliya Snigir, appeared as Russian villains in the fifth film of the Die Hard series, A Good Day to Die Hard.[3]

Personal life

Koch lives in Berlin and has a daughter with journalist Birgit Keller.[4] He also had a relationship with actress Anna Schudt[5] and Dutch actress Carice van Houten, whom he met on the set of Black Book (Dutch: Zwartboek).[6]



  • 2001 – German Television Awards nomination for best supporting actor in Der Tunnel.
  • 2002 – Grimme Award for his portrayal of Klaus Mann in Die Manns; Bavarian Television Award ("Blue Panther") for the same role; Grimme Award for his portrayal of Richard Oetker in Dance with the Devil.
  • 2003 – DIVA Award; nominated for best German actor at the Verleihung der Goldenen Kamera for his role in Napoleon.
  • 2004 – Golden Gong award for Stauffenberg; German Television Awards nomination for best leading actor in Stauffenberg.
  • 2005 – "Blue Panther" award for his portrayal of Albert Speer in Speer und Er; German Television Award for best leading role in Speer und Er.
  • 2006 – Die Quadriga award for The Lives of Others (shared with Ulrich Mühe and the film's director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck); Bambi award for best actor (national).


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