Rudolf Klein-Rogge  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Rudolf Klein-Rogge (November 24 1888April 30 1955) was a German stage and film actor of the 1920s and 30s. He is best known for his roles as the mad scientist C. A. Rotwang in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis, and as the title character in Lang's Dr. Mabuse series.


He was born as Friederich Rudolf Klein-Rogge in Cologne, Germany. His father was a high-ranking military officer. After graduating from high school, he studied art history and literature at the universities of Berlin and Bonn whilst taking acting lessons. He made his stage debut in 1909, playing the role of Cassius in Julius Caesar at age 20, and from 1918 to 1924 he performed at the Berlin Lessing Theatre. While working in Aachen he met screenwriter and author Thea von Harbou, whom he married in 1914. When they divorced in 1921, she married Fritz Lang.

He began film acting in 1919, starting with bit parts. His first lead film role was in Fritz Lang's Kampfende Herzen (1920), and he collaborated with Lang in three of the director's most well-known films, Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), Metropolis (1927) and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). After 1933 he was hired more often for bit roles. He appeared in over 85 films, his last being Hexen in 1949.

Klein-Rogge married four times: Greta Melchor; Thea von Harbou; Margarete Neff; and Mary Johnson from 1932 until his death in 1955. He died in Wetzelsdorf, Austria in 1955.

Filmography (incomplete)

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