On January 26, 2022, Erni Mangold will celebrate her 95th birthday. Active for more than seventy years and decidedly tireless, the actress has recently published a book of photographs inspired by her extraordinary life: Sagen Sie, was Sie denken: Mein Leben in Bildern.
A legend of Austrian cinema
A lively, attentive gaze. An unmistakable face. A performer who, in the course of her long and prolific career, has taken part in more than a hundred films for film and television and as many theatre plays. Yes, because, in fact, the famous Erni Mangold is a true icon of contemporary and past Austrian cinema, active for more than seventy years and decidedly tireless, who, on the eve of her ninety-fifth birthday, has even published a book of photographs about her extraordinary life: Sagen Sie, was Sie denken: Mein Leben in Bildern.
Born on January 26, 1927 in Großweikersdorf, Lower Austria, Ernnestine Goldman comes from a family of artists: her father was a painter, her mother a musician and, after giving up her career to devote herself to her family, she used to give her daughter Erni piano lessons from the age of fourteen. Her exuberant character and curious, lively personality soon led her to become interested in the acting world, studying at the Schauspielschule Krauss.
Immediately after her studies, young Erni began acting in theatre and already in 1946 joined the ensemble of the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna, before moving temporarily to Germany and working first at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, then at the Schauspielhaus in Düsseldorf. Parallel to her theatre career, however, Erni Mangold soon began to devote herself to film, which would bring her just as much satisfaction. After a debut in 1948 in Rudolf Steinboeck’s feature film The Other Life, in the same year the actress took part in another important film in Austrian film history: The Angel with the Trumpet, directed by Karl Hartl and based on the novel The Angel with the Trumpet by Ernst Lothar.
From then on, Erni Mamgold became an increasingly popular actress in both Austria and Germany. She took part in numerous feature films, including Eva (directed by Rolf Thiele in 1959 and starring a great Romy Schneider in the leading role), Tolle Nacht (John Olden, 1957), Der Bockerer (Franz Antel, 1981), Qualtingers Wien (Harald Sicheritz, 1997), the more recent North Face (Philipp Stölzl, 2008) and Murer: Anatomy of a Trial (Christian Frosch, 2018) and even Richard Linklater’s masterpiece Before Sunrise, made in 1995.
The characters she plays are often secondary characters, who nevertheless contribute to the liveliness of the stories staged and who have proved to be perfectly in line with her own personality: a vivacious and non-conformist personality, which throughout her life has led her to make her own choices, to always follow her instincts without worrying about what people might say about her and to enjoy every single moment.
This enthusiasm led the actress to try her hand at every possible career field. And in addition to her numerous engagements in film and theatre, Erni Mangold also taught until 1995 at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the Theaterschule Helmut Knaus, as well as having published, even before the aforementioned Sagen Sie, was Sie denken: Mein Leben in Bildern, the autobiographical book Lassen Sie mich in Ruhe.
Awarded in 2005 with the prestigious Nestroy Theaterpreis for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Snow White in Elfriede Jelinek’s Prinzessinendramen, Erni Mangold announced her retirement from the stage (in theatre) in 2017, performing for the last time in Harold and Maude at the Wiener Kammerspiele. To this day, however, Mangold continues to take part in numerous feature films. In fact, her last film to date is Schönes Schlamassel, directed by Wolfgang Murnberger in 2020. At the age of ninety-five, then, this brilliant actress is still full of energy and vitality. And who knows how many more beautiful surprises she will have in store for us. In the meantime, a beautiful book with the most significant pictures of her life is undoubtedly the right crowning achievement to her long career and iconic figure.