Austria Obit Berger

Austrian actor Helmut Berger performs as “Don Juan” during a rehearsal for the stage play “Don Juan Comes from the War” in Vienna, Austria, in 2003. Stephan Trierenberg/Associated Press file

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 unexpectedly” early Thursday in his home city of Salzburg, agent Helmut Berger 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.”

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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