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Son of renowned Viennese actor Rudolph Schildkraut who studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before joining Max Reinhardt's company in 1913, where he soon emerged as a star. Schildkraut set down in the US in 1920 and almost immediately established himself as a matinee idol on Broadway. He pursued a simultaneous screen career, first in debonair leading roles and later in a number of oily, villainous characterizations. He gave notable performances in "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) and "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959).
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