Maximilian Schell (born in Vienna on 8 December 1930) is an actor, Oscar winner, director and producer with dual Austrian/Swiss nationality.
Maximilian Schell attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich from 1938 to 1948 and became a Matura graduate in 1948. After the Gymnasium he decided to study Philosophy, History of Art and German, as well as Music and Theatre Studies in Zurich, Basel and Munich.
He played football for Grasshopper Club Zurich. In 1952 he changed his studies to Performing Arts, while at the same time studying piano at the Bern Conservatory (now known as Bern University of the Arts). He had his acting debut in Basel Theater in 1952, and also worked there as a director and dramaturg. (from Wikipedia).
Return to Freies Gymnasium Zürich in March 2011
On 30 September 2011 Maximilian Schell, who won the Oscar for best actor for his role as Hans Rolfe in «Das Urteil von Nürnberg», visited his old school. The Swiss celebrity's first visit after 63 years turned out to be a nostalgic reunion.
The students welcomed the former FGZ boy with great enthusiasm and it was evident that Maximilian Schell immediately felt at home. In 1938 the Schell family had moved from Vienna to the Gablerstrasse in Zurich due to the annexation of Austria into Hitler’s Germany. The lively 81-year-old explained that the name of the Gymnasium was therefore of great significance to him as Freies Gymnasium Zürich really did mean freedom to him.
Schell had brought his Matura Newspaper from 1948 along and proved to be a gifted storyteller. No matter whether he was describing the pranks that his generation of students got up to, his friends among the Hollywood greats, or his experiences as an international actor, the students were hanging on to his every word. Questions from the audience triggered reminiscences, words of wisdom and light-hearted teasing from the guest who will be again making an appearance at this year’s Zurich Film Festival. With a twinkle in his eye, he advocated that the school should establish a subject called Culture and Life as the curriculum does not pay enough attention to learning skills for life.
To the amusement of one and all, the former Hollywood beau kept coming back to his favourite subject, women. Max was a gifted student during his school years and even chose to study Greek. Nevertheless, his restless spirit got him into all sorts of trouble and he was even threatened with expulsion from the school. The principal of the time and his art teacher backed him up and Max finally graduated with good to very good marks in almost all subjects.
When the current principal presented Maximilian Schell with a copy of the school records, you could see that the guest was greatly touched. This document will enable him to take a glimpse at his earlier school days and remind him of some of his escapades and talents. The visit proved to be memorable for both the Oscar winner and students alike.
Photo gallery to am Freien Gymansium Zürich
Short film Visit to Freies Gymnasium Zürich (SF Video Portal)