Remembered best for his roles in the 1960s films Fanny (as Marius), The Magnificent Seven (as Chico), and One, Two, Three (as Otto Ludwig Piffl), this German-born actor also appeared in such German-language movies as Nasser Asphalt and Die Halbstarken.
He acted in his first play in 1949 and went on to become a regular performer at Berlin's Schiller Theater. Early in his career, he also worked as a voice actor and German-language dubber.
Late in his life, he played the role of Dr. Lessing in the Academy Award-winning film Life Is Beautiful.
A native of East Berlin, Germany, he was raised by his mother Maria Hasenkamp and his stepfather Hugo Buchholz, as well as by a foster family in Czechoslovakia (during the World War II years). His marriage to French movie actress Myriam Bru resulted in two children.
He and English actress Hayley Mills co-starred in the 1959 movie Tiger Bay.