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Peter van Eyck

Peter van Eyck

Peter van Eyck was a German-born musician-turned-actor whose film career in the United States was bookended by work throughout Europe. With Hitler's ascendance in the early 1930s, van Eyck left Germany to play piano in London, Paris, Cuba, and eventually New York, where he also was a composer and worked for Irving Berlin. Legendary director and fellow ex-pat Billy Wilder helped van Eyck find radio work, and a screen test, which led to van Eyck's role in the 1943 drama "The Moon is Down"; Wilder himself also cast van Eyck as a lieutenant in the war thriller "Five Graves to Cairo" that same year. But van Eyck's best film work came in Europe, post-World War II. When not cast as a Nazi or similarly evil fascist types, he appeared in such standout projects as the French-Italian epic thriller "The Wages of Fear," which starred French icon Yves Montand, and "The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse," a 1960 mystery made by Fritz Lang, another celebrated European ex-pat. In 1965, van Eyck had a supporting part in the Academy Award-nominated U.K. thriller "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," an English-speaking role which he followed with parts in a series of French, Spanish, and Italian-language films. Among van Eyck's much shorter list of television credits, he appeared in an episode of the anthology series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," and, toward the end of his life and career, as Doctor Raboux children's classic, "Heidi," in 1968. Van Eyck passed way from sepsis at age 57
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