Emil Jannings (July 23, 1884 - January 3, 1950) was an actor and the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor. He won the 1927/1928 Oscar for two films -- The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. He also starred in The Last Laugh, a film unique in silent cinema for its lack of title cards.
Christened Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz in Rorschach, Switzerland, of a German mother and an American father, Jannings, as a theater actor, had a promising Hollywood career come to an end when talkies made his thick German accent difficult to understand. He returned to Europe, where he starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the classic 1930 film, The Blue Angel, filmed in English simultaneously with its German version Der blaue Engel.
He made several pro-Nazi films, ending any chance he may have had for a comeback in the United States. Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels named him "Artist of the State" in 1941. Because of his involvement in Nazi propaganda, Jannings was prohibited to work after the war, and retired to his farm in Austria. Very proficient in money matters, Jannings was one of the highest paid actors of his time.
Jannings died in 1950 in Strobl, Austria of cancer at the age of 65.
Preceded by: - Academy Award for Best Actor 1928 for The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh Succeeded by: Warner Baxter for In Old Arizona