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Carmen-Maja Antoni


* August 23, 1945 in Berlin


The actress Carmen-Maja Antoni is short, only 1.52 m tall. Nor does it correspond to the current ideal of beauty: the hair tousled, the mouth narrow, the nose strong. In spite of this, or perhaps because of that, she is seen as a striking, interesting appearance in the theater as well as on the screen. During the GDR era and in the reunified Germany, she was a star on the Berlin stages, especially in Bertolt Brecht plays. Unfortunately, the potential of the actress with the mischievous smile is too seldom used for the screen.

Carmen-Maja Antoni was born on August 23, 1945 in Berlin. Her father is the painter Joseph Antoni. He leaves the family early. The mother Ursula Antoni-Orendt earns her living as an all-round artist who gave herself up to alcohol at an early age. Carmen-Maja Antoni started working for television at the age of eleven. She is one of the three members of the pioneer cabaret "Blaue Blitze" on GDR television, who, under the direction of Gisela Schwartz-Martell, presented live situations in witty conversations. She also appears in the musical "The Thief in the Department Store". She feeds the family with her work.

After graduating from high school, Carmen-Maja Antoni applied successfully to the German Academy for Film Art Potsdam-Babelsberg. From 1962 to 1965 she studied acting there as one of the youngest students. The young actress was engaged at the Hans-Otto-Theater in Potsdam during her studies. Here she made a name for herself in the Bertolt Brecht play "The Caucasian Chalk Circle". At the age of 18, she was the youngest Grusch to win over the critics. After that she can be seen in fairy tale games, working out a repertoire of German classics, including playing Minna von Barnhelm. 1970 Antoni followed the call of the Volksbühne in Berlin. Here she works with the directors Benno Besson, Matthias Langhoff and Fritz Marquardt, and becomes a popular actress in the ensemble. She stayed at the theater for five years, particularly convincing with her comical and grotesque roles. Her repertoire is diverse, ranging from Moliere to Heiner Müller.

In 1975 the actress - called by Ruth Berghaus - switched to the Berliner Ensemble. Here Carmen-Maja Antoni makes a name for herself as a character actress. Among other things, she convinces in the one-person play “Jackets Like Pants” by Manfred Karge, plays William Shakespeare and repeatedly Bertolt Brecht, including the female-male double role Shen Te / Shui Ta in “The Good Man of Sezuan”. She often plays musical theater and wins over critics and viewers through her singing and artistic qualities. She celebrates success in trouser roles. She has made numerous guest appearances abroad. With a Bertolt Brecht program, the actress can be seen in Western Europe and the USA in the 1980s.

After the collapse of the GDR, Carmen-Maja Antoni was taken on by Claus Peymann in his new team at the Berliner Ensemble. She appears on stage in the Brecht plays “The Mother” as Pelagea Vlasowa and in “The Holy Johanna of the Slaughterhouses”. In addition, she is Recha's partner in Lessing's “Nathan the Wise” and acts in Peter Handke's “Underground Blues” and in William Shakespeare's “Richard III.”.

In the mid-1960s the first offers came from DEFA and television in the GDR. Carmen-Maja Antoni initially played in supporting roles. She made her debut as a young girl in the comedy DER RESERVEHELD (1964). Her next two films do not find their way onto the screen and disappear in the basements due to the 11th plenary session of the SED Central Committee. She plays a student in DON'T THINK ICH HAY (1965) and is a saleswoman in MISS BUTTERFLY (1965 / 1966-2005). The offers are getting a little bigger. She is given preference with roles of inconspicuous women, on whom she always puts her own individual stamp on. In the hit comedy THE MAN WHO CAME AFTER GRANDMA (1971) she plays an insurance cashier. She acts as a waitress in the comedy THE SECOND LIFE OF FRIEDRICH WILHELM GEORG PLATOW (1973). She gives her role as the strange master in ALL MY GIRLS (1979) original features. In the biopic KÄTHE KOLLWITZ - BILDER EINES LEBENS (1986) she acts cautiously as Miss Lina, the confidante of the artist (played by Jutta Wachowiak).

Carmen-Maja Antoni plays one of her few leading roles in KINDHEIT (1986), directed by Siegfried Kühn. Here she acts as the grandmother of the nine-year-old Alfons, who experienced his childhood around 1944 in a Silesian village. The grandmother gives him a lot of tenderness and keeps telling him strange stories. When a traveling circus comes to the village, a tender love develops between the showman Nardini (played by Fritz Marquardt) and her. Carmen-Maja Antoni was awarded the Critics' Prize for Best Actress for her portrayal.

Antoni is particularly popular as a cast in children's films. In FLOWERS FOR THE MAN IN THE MOON (1974-75) she acts as Maja. She plays the mother of nine-year-old Florian in DER DICKE UND ICH (1981). Her portrayal in VERFLIXTES MISSGESCHICK will be remembered! (1988) directed by Hannelore Unterberg. She plays the nasty creature who is always looking for and finding new victims with mischievous bravura.

Carmen-Maja Antoni is also present on the big screen in reunified Germany. Again, however, there are only minor roles with which the actress can draw attention. In one of the last DEFA films BETWEEN PANKOW AND ZEHLENDORF (1990-91), directed by Horst Seemann, she is a saleswoman. She received supporting roles in the films LIFE IS A CONSTRUCTION SITE (1997) and NACHTGESTALTEN (1999). In BERLIN IS IN GERMANY (2001) she portrays the likable probation officer who is supposed to make life easier for the released Martin Schulz in his new, unknown life in Germany. The role of the mother, the grandmother, the carer is often embodied by her. She gives this in, among others, EIN SCHIFF WILL KOMMEN (2002).

The actress also started her career in television in the mid-1960s. As a maid she convinces in the popular five-part television novel WEGE ÜBERS LAND. In the crime series ROSA ROTH, she has played the helpful secretary of Inspector Rosa Roth, given by Iris Berben, since 1992. She has been identified with this role over the years. The actress became extremely popular as a grandmother in the three-part TV series DER LADEN based on Erwin Strittmatter. As a little grandmother, she scurries through the house inconspicuously but diligently and reliably, has her eyes and ears everywhere, is the practical grandmother. Director Jo Baier and screenwriter
Ulrich Plenzdorf succeeds in creating a captivating and extremely lavishly staged television report, which is supported by brilliant actor performances.

In addition to her acting activities on stage and in film, Carmen-Maja Antoni lends her voice to radio play characters. She reaches a large audience with her readings, including reading poetry by Thomas Brasch. She also works as a lecturer at the Konrad Wolf Academy of Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg and at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Carmen-Maja Antoni has been married since 1974. The family has a son and a daughter. She lives in Berlin.

Posted by Ines Walk.


  • 1974: Critics' Award of the Berliner Zeitung - (Best Actress of the Year) for Eva in "Herr Puntila und seine Knecht Matti"
  • 1976: Critics' Award of the Berliner Zeitung - (Best Actress of the Year) for Herakes in "Herakes W" by Heiner Müller
  • 1988: Critics' Award of the Berliner Zeitung - (Best Actress of the Year) for the mother in "Baal"
  • 1988: CHILDHOOD - Prize for the best female leading role at the 5th National Feature Film Festival of the GDR
  • 1989: Art Prize of the GDR - for the overall artistic work
  • 1990: Helene Weigel Medal - for the portrayal of the mother-in-law in "The Suicide"


  • Martin Linzer: Carmen-Maja Antoni, in: Renate Seydel: Actor, Henschel Verlag Berlin 1974.
  • Marlis Left: Pants, women and other comedies, in: Filmspiegel, 08/1987.
  • Friedel von Wangenheim: Curiosity kept me young and happy, in: nuances. Publishing house Das Neue Berlin 1996.
  • Ingrun walks: Carmen-Maja Antoni, in: cinegraph, loose-leaf collection
  • Holde-Barbara Ulrich: Who's Afraid of Antoni? She was a star, back then on the stages of the GDR. Then came the time of the little television roles. But now Carmen-Maja Antoni trumps in Claus Peymann's new troupe at the reopened Berliner Ensemble, in: Die Zeit, 2000.
  • o.A .: Berliner Ensemble - Conversation with Carmen-Maja Antoni. To be honest, in: Berliner Zeitung, April 25, 2003.

DEFA filmography

  • The Reserve Hero (1964) - Actor | Director: Wolfgang Luderer
  • Don't You Think I'm Howling (1965) - Cast | Director: Frank Vogel
  • I'm the Rabbit (1965) - Actor | Director: Kurt Maetzig
  • Miss Butterfly (1965/1966 - 2020) - Actor | Director: Kurt Barthel
  • Captain Florian von der Mühle (1968) - Actor | Director: Werner Wolfgang Wallroth
  • Gunshots Under the Gallows (1968) - Actor | Director: Horst Seemann
  • PAN TAU JDE NADILET / Mr Tau goes to the presents (1969) - dubbing (speaker) | Director: Jindřich Polak
  • Time to Live (1969) - Cast | Director: Horst Seemann
  • En route to Lenin (1970) - cast | Director: Günter Reisch
  • Time of the Storks (1970) - Actor | Director: Siegfried Kühn
  • The Man Who Came After Grandma (1971) - cast | Director: Roland Oehme
  • Eolomea (1972) - speaker | Director: Herrmann Zschoche
  • The Great Festival (1972) - Speaker | Director: Werner Krauße
  • Can I play with you? (1973) - speaker | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • Three hazelnuts for Cinderella (1973) - dubbing (narrator) | Director: Vaclav Vorlicek
  • The Chick Mother (1973 - 1974) - speaker | Director: Werner Krauße
  • The Second Life of Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow (1973) - Actor | Director: Siegfried Kühn
  • Flowers for the Man in the Moon (1974-1975) - Actor | Director: Rolf Losansky
  • Johannes Kepler (1974) - Actor | Director: Frank Vogel
  • Was it you (1974) - speaker | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • Where does it hurt (1974) - narrator | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • Banquet for Achilles (1975) - Actor | Director: Roland Gräf
  • LEPTIROV OBLAK / Dream of a Girl (1977) - dubbing (speaker) | Director: Zdravko Randic
  • WIELKA PODROZ BOLKA I LOLKA / The great journey of Lolek and Bolek (1977) - dubbing (speaker) | Director: Wladyslaw Nehrebecki, Stanislaw Dülz
  • All Against One (1978) - Speaker | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • Excuse me please (1978) - Speaker | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • Meta Morfoss (1978-1979) - speaker | Director: Monika Anderson
  • SPIRALA / Spirale (1978) - dubbing (speaker) | Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
  • All My Girls (1979) - cast | Director: Iris Gusner
  • Simply Flowers on the Roof (1979) - Cast | Director: Roland Oehme
  • Who wants to see hardworking craftsmen ... (1979) - Speaker | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • The Ugly Young Duckling (1980-1981) - Speaker | Director: Ina Rarisch
  • Max and Seven and a Half Boys (1980) - Actor | Director: Egon Schlegel
  • Fat Tilla (1981) - Actor | Director: Werner Bergmann
  • The Fat and Me (1981) - Actor | Director: Karl Heinz Lotz
  • Die Gänse von Bützow (1985) - Actor | Director: Frank Vogel
  • BOLEK I LOLEK NA DZIKIM ZACHODZIE / Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West (1986) - dubbing (speaker) | Directors: Stanislaw Dülz, Waclaw Wajser, Wladyslaw Nehrebecki, Bronislaw Zeman
  • Käthe Kollwitz - Pictures of a Life (1986) - Actor | Director: Ralf Kirsten
  • Childhood (1986) - Actor | Director: Siegfried Kühn
  • PORWANIE W TIUTIURLISTANIE / The kidnapped princess (1986) - dubbing (speaker) | Director: Zdzislaw Kudla, Franciszek Pyter
  • MALTSCHIK S PALTSCHIK; POHADKA O MALICKOVI / Tale of Tom Thumb (1987) - dubbing (speaker) | Director: Gunars Piesis
  • Darn mishap! (1988) - Actor | Director: Hannelore Unterberg (née Neupert)
  • A Gypsy Tale (1988) - narrator | Director: Christl Wiemer
  • Between Pankow and Zehlendorf (1990 - 1991) - Actor | Director: Horst Seemann
  • Rosenemil (1992-1993) - actor | Director: Radu Gabrea
  • Conversation with contemporary witnesses: Carmen-Maja Antoni (2014) - person, primary | Director: Ferdinand Teubner, Katrin Teubner

You can see an extended filmography at