Werner Herzog (Werner Stipetic) was born Sept. 5, 1942 in Munich. He grew up on a farm in the Bavarian mountains. After his parents' divorce, Herzog and his mother moved to Munich where he attended High School (graduated in 1961). He travelled through Jugoslavia and Greece, worked in Manchester and - fact or fiction? - as a rodeo rider. At the age of 16 he converted to catholicism. image © senses of cinema
In 1974, he walked from Munich to Paris to see the sick Lotte Eisner. He wrote a dairy about his pilgrimage entitled Vom Gehen im Eis (Walking on Ice) for which he received a literary award (Rausirer Literaturpreis) in 1979.
He said that when he was 14 years old, he knew that he would be making films. His first short was completed in 1962 (Herakles) and one year later he founded his own production company. Herzog studied history, literature and drama in Munich and Pittsburgh (Fulbright) but not for very long. He never attended a film school and had no formal film education.
In 1964 he won the Carl Mayer Prize for the screenplay that was to become his first feature film, Signs of Life (Lebenszeichen), which was financed by the Kuratorium Junger Deutscher Film (300.000DM) and won the Bundesfilmpreis for best first feature.
Among Herzog's most popular films, though not an immediate success, was Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972) with Klaus Kinski, who also starred in Nosferatu (1979), Woyzeck (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), and Cobra Verde (1987). One of his biggest successes was Every Man for Himself and God Against All / The Mystery (Enigma) of Kaspar Hauser (1974), which won the Special Award in Cannes (1975) and several Federal Film Prizes (1975).
Herzog is famous for dealing with marginalized figures and for his choice of 'exotic' sets (Peru, Brazil, Australia). Herzog, the "visionary" of the NGC, insists that "film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates."
In recent years, Herzog released a number of documentaries and directed various operas. His latest feature film is Invincible. He lives in Munich and Los Angeles.
Official Werner Herzog Site
Herzog (strictly film school)
Werner Herzog Essay (Arte)
The Enigma of Werner H (Guardian)
The Enigma of Werner Herzog (MovieMaker Magazine)
Werner Herzog - The Real Fitzcarraldo