Thimig, Family

   Among the several theatrical dynasties of Austria, the Thimigs have been the most important. Their presence in Vienna was established by Hugo Thimig (1854–1944), who was from Dresden but emigrated to the imperial capital, where he was an honorary member of the Burgtheater ensemble from 1904 to 1923. He served as its director between 1912 and 1917. Especially noted for character and comic roles, he continued to act almost until the end of his very long life. The theatrical memorabilia that he assembled have become the basis of the current collection of the Austrian National Library.
   Hugo Thimig was the father of three leading figures of the 20thcentury Austrian theater. Helene Thimig (1889–1974) was a notable actress in the German- and English-speaking worlds. After a career in Vienna, Berlin, and other German theaters, she emigrated with her husband, the director and impresario Max Reinhardt, to the United States in 1937. There she worked in Hollywood until her return to Vienna after World War II. She was in the companies of both the Burgtheater and the Theater in the Josefstadt from 1946 to 1968 and of the revived Salzburg Festival, where she was especially known for her performances in the Jedermann of Hugo von Hofmannsthal. While in the United States, Helene Thimig had served as director of the Max Reinhardt Workshop, experience she put to good use in directing the Reinhardt Seminar of the Vienna Academy of Music and Theater, where she also taught.
   Helene Thimig’s two brothers also had distinguished careers in the German-speaking, particularly the Viennese, theater. Hermann Thimig (1890–1982) and Hans Thimig (1900–1991) were, like their sister, closely associated with Max Reinhardt both in Berlin and in Vienna, at the Theater in the Josefstadt. Hermann was especially well known for his comic character roles, which gave him a chance to display the verbal athleticism that was his hallmark. He starred in the comedies of the 18th-century Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni and in leading roles of the classic Viennese popular theater created by Ferdinand Raimund and Johann Nestroy. Hans Thimig also specialized in comic characters, though of the less spectacular sort. He was a great favorite in the Vienna Volkstheater (People’s Theater), where he made his debut in 1916. He played roles at the Burgtheater, both as a member of the company and as a guest. He also worked as a stage and film director and on the radio. In 1946, and then again from 1959 to 1960, he was the head of the Reinhardt Seminars.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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