Josef Kainz in the role of Hamlet in "Hamlet" by W. Shakespeare, photo
Kainz, Josef, b. Wieselburg (Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary), Jan. 2, 1858, d. Vienna, Sept. 20, 1910, actor. Self-taught, made his debut at the age of 15, big success at German theatres. In 1899 engagement at the Vienna Burgtheater, where he played 28 major roles (such as Torquato Tasso, Mephisto in Goethe's "Faust", Hamlet) and became an idol for the subsequent generation of actors. Most famous actor of the German theatre of his time; passionate actor, who impressed the audience with his diction, his empathy and his physical expressiveness.
The Josef Kainz Medal was endowed by the City of Vienna in 1958 for the 100th anniversary of J. K. and until 1999 was awarded every September to actors and directors for the most outstanding performances at Vienna theatres during the past theatre season.
Literature: J. K., Briefe, ed. by H. Bahr, 1921; H. Richter, J. K., 1931; P. Wiegler, J. K., 1941; H. Ihering, Von J. K. bis P. Wessely, 1942; E. Kober, J. K., 1948; M. Mautner-Kalbeck, K. Ein Brevier, 1953; ÖBL.