Aunt of Nastassja Schell.
Became one of the first movie idols to the postwar generation in the German speaking countries with her distinctive "smile under tears".
Considered Island of Despair (1969) (aka "99 Women", "Island of Despair") to be her worst picture.
Daughter of writer Ferdinand Hermann Schell and actress Margarete Schell Noé.
Her breakthrough performance was in Helmut Käutner's The Last Bridge (1954) (aka "The Last Bridge"), a touching performance as a tragic heroine, which won her the Best Actress Award at Cannes (the Palme d'Or).
Her brother Maximilian Schell made a movie about her in 2002 called My Sister Maria (2002) (aka "My Sister Maria").
Her family had to escape from the German Nazi regime in 1938.
Mother of Oliver Hächler (b. 1962, now known as Oliver Schell, with Horst Hächler) and actress Marie-Theres Relin (b. 30 June 1966, with Veit Relin).