Anton Diffring (20 October 1918 – 20 May 1989) was a German character actor known for his portrayal of German officers and aristocrats in many film and TV appearances.
Diffring (born Anton de Vient or Alfred Pollack) was born in Koblenz. He studied acting in Berlin and Vienna but there is some conjecture about when he left Germany prior to World War II. The audio commentary for the Doctor Who series Silver Nemesis mentions he left Germany in 1936, as he was not enamored of fascism and further that he was a homosexual. Other accounts point to him leaving Germany in 1939 and heading for Canada where he was interned in 1940. Though he made two fleeting, unaccredited appearances in films in 1940, it was not until 1950, after a move to Britain, that his acting career began to take off.
With numerous British war films being produced in the 1950s, Diffring's blonde hair, blue eyes and the chiseled features saw him feature often as villainous German officers - such as in Albert R.N. (1953) and The Colditz Story (1955). Some of his more notable roles as German characters were in The Heroes of Telemark (1965), The Blue Max (1966), Where Eagles Dare (1968), Operation Daybreak (1975) (as SS officer Reinhard Heydrich) and the match commentator in Escape to Victory (1981). In 1983 he played Hitler's foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in the American mini-series The Winds of War.