Emil Jannings (July 23, 1884 - January 3, 1950) was the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor. He won the 1927/1928 Oscar for two films -- The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command.
Born Theodor Friedrich Emil Janenz in Switzerland, Jannings had a promising Hollywood career come to an end when talkies made his thick German accent difficult to understand. He returned to Europe, where he starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in the classic The Blue Angel, filmed in English simultaneously with its German version Der Blaue Engel. He made several pro-Nazi films, ending any chance he may have had for a comeback in the United States. Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels named him "Artist of the State" in 1941.
Because of his involvement in Nazi propaganda, Jannigs was prohibited to work after the war, and retired to his farm in Austria. Very proficient in money matters, Jannings was one of the highest paid actors of his time.