Although it is inaccurate to say he is actually a character in Peter Handke's "anti-play," "The Ride Across Lake Constance," his name is used as a designation of a character, as are the names of other celebrated actors of the German cinema, Elisabeth Bergner, Heinrich George, Erich von Stroheim, Henny Porten and the twins Alice Kessler and Ellen Kessler.
Because of his thick German accent, the advent of sound ended his American career. Returning to his native Germany, he became an enthusiastic supporter of the Nazis; thus, he spent the next decade-plus making films that supported Nazi ideology.
He is the first winner of an Academy Award, as after being announced as a winner, he was presented his Academy statuette a month before the actual ceremony. This also makes him the first no-show winner at an Academy Award presentation.
He was the very first actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Back then, actors received one Oscar for multiple films and Jannings won for The Way of All Flesh (1927) and The Last Command (1928). The Award is exhibited in the Berlin Film Museum.
His home town of Rorschach, Switzerland, honored him with a special star (similar to the ones on the Walk of Fame in L.A.), which was revealed on November 12, 2004. Only hours prior to the ceremony, the town's council learned of Jannings' efforts on behalf of the Nazis during World War II. A few days later, the star was removed.
Of the five U.S. films Jannings made (all silent, all for Paramount), only the Oscar-winning The Last Command (1928) has survived intact. Of two films [The Way of All Flesh (1927) and The Patriot (1928)], only brief clips remain. The other two; Street of Sin (1928) and Betrayal (1929) [the latter also starring a young Gary Cooper] are thought to be completely lost.
The first non-American actor to win an Oscar (he is from Switzerland).
Was born in Rorschach, Switzerland, at the Lake of Constance. This is just a few minutes away from Au, where Academy Award-winning actress Renée Zellweger's family comes from.