Moissi, Alexander

BORN 2 Apr 1879, Trieste - DIED 22 Mar 1935, Wien
GRAVE LOCATION Morcote (near Lake Lugano), Ticino: Cimitero Santa Maria del Sasso

Alexander Moissi was the son of an Albanian father and an Albanian-Italian mother. He grew up in Albania after his parents were forced to leave Trieste. When he was twenty he settled with his mother and two sisters in Vienna. There he studied singing and drama. His Italian accent stood in his way, but Jozef Kainz noticed him in "Tartuffe" at the Burgtheater during the 1899/1900 season. With the support of Kainz he received important parts. In 1910 hhe married the actress Maria Urfus.

Max Reinhardt engaged him at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. He was in the premiere of Frank Wedekind's "Frühlings Erwachen" ("Spring Awakening") and he became one of the best known and best paid actors of his time. He was admired by Franz Werfel and Stefan Zweig. During the First World War he was interned as a prisoner of war in Switzerland. When he performed with the young actress Elisabeth Bergner in 1916 he fell in love with her. Although she liked him she didn't return his love. In 1918 he divorced Maria and he joined the Spartakists in Germany in 1918-1919. He married the actress Johanna Terwin in 1919.

In the 1920s his fame faded and he left Germany when the nazis came to power in 1933. His last part was Fedja in "The Living Corpse" by Tolstoy, a part that he had played more than 1,000 times. He was offered Albanian citizenship by king Zog of Albania. In 1935 he died if pneumonia in either Vienna or Lugano. He was creamted at the Feuerhalle Simmering in Vienna and his ashes were buried at Morcote near Lugano.

• Daughter: Molo, Beate von
• Wife: Terwin, Johanna (1919-1935)

Related persons
• cooperated with Bergner, Elisabeth
• was discovered by Kainz, Josef
• cooperated with Lauterböck, Helene
• was directed by Reinhardt, Max
• was teacher to Skoda, Albin
• was admired by Werfel, Franz

20/11/1906Premiere of "Frühlings Erwachen" by Frank Wedekind at the Berliner Kammerspiele. It was directed by Max Reinhardt and (uncredited) Hermann Bahr. [Bahr, Hermann][Eysoldt, Gertrud][Reinhardt, Max][Steinrück, Albert][Wedekind, Frank]
20/12/1906Premiere of Hermann Bahr's "Ringelspiel" at the Deutschen Theater, Berlin. It was directed by Bahr. The actors were Lucie Höflich, Alexander Moissi, Agnes Sorma, Albert Steinrück, Hans Wassermann and Paul Wegener. The stage scenery was created by Emil Orlik. [Bahr, Hermann][Höflich, Lucie][Sorma, Agnes][Steinrück, Albert][Wegener, Paul]
22/8/1920First performance of Hofmannsthal's "Jedermann" at the Festspiele in Salzburg. It was performed in Berlin in 1911 by Max Reinhardt and this time Reinhardt staged the play on the square before the Dom of Salzburg. Reinhardt was the director, Alexander Moissi was Jedermann and Johanna Terwin was Buhlschaft. Hugo von Hoffmansthal concluded that the play seemed to have found its natural place. [Hofmannsthal, Hugo von][Reinhardt, Max][Terwin, Johanna]


Alexander Moissi as "Fedja" in "Der Lebende Leichnam".
Picture by Fritz Richard


The grave of Alexander Moissi at the Cimitero Santa Maria del Sasso in Morcote, Ticino.
Picture by Androom (15 Feb 2019)


The grave of Alexander Moissi at the Cimitero Santa Maria del Sasso in Morcote, Ticino.
Picture by Androom (15 Feb 2019)


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Molesworth, William

Published: 19 Oct 2019
Last update: 19 Apr 2020