Victor Schefé was born in Rostock, East Germany, on 4 August 1968. He learned to play the accordion at the conservatory, later became an accomplished athlete in track & field as a sprinter and jumper, then increasingly butted his head against “socialist society” and was prohibited from completing his Abitur (college-prep education.) At the age of 18 he applied for permission to leave East Germany, was officially relieved of his East German citizenship in fall of 1986 and went to West Berlin. A little while later he moved to New York, where he stayed for a year and a half. While there he took courses in dance and acting at the New York Acting School and held jobs as a waiter and as a pearl-stringer for a jewelry designer. He was also an intern at the Elysium Theater Company.
Victor experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall firsthand in 1989. After admissions interviews at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin (today’s UdK), he gratefully accepted a director’s offer to play in an off-theater production, the premier of which took place during the Berliner Theatertreffen (Berlin Theater Meeting) at the ‘Stückemarkt’. Afterwards Victor played in various off-theater productions, mainly as a member of the Walser Ensemble in Berlin. He earned his money working at the Berliner Festspiele, as a DJ and bartender.
In the fall of 1990 he and two partners opened ‘Hafen’, a bar in Berlin’s Motzstrasse. Shortly thereafter he became seriously ill with cancer.
He celebrated his first big theatrical success as “The Elephant Man,” at the Theater am Kurfürstendamm, under the direction of Ulrich Simontowitz. More theater work followed with directors Donald Berkenhoff in Berlin and Christoph Klimke at the TAT in Frankfurt. He co-produced the music show “Stars in Bars” with Andreja Schneider, in which he appeared for the first time as a singer.
In 1993 he played in his first television movie, the premier of the ZDF series “Ein Starkes Team,” under the direction of Konrad Sabrautzky.
Victor Schefé was engaged at the Schauspielhaus in Vienna by Hans Gratzer in the fall of 1994. This working relationship reached its pinnacle with the German-language premiere of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America I & II.” From this point onward he commuted between theater in Vienna (e.g., as ‘Walter Gropius’, in Joshua Sobol’s “Alma,” directed by Paulus Manker, a co-production of the Burg Theater and The Wiener Festwochen) and work in television in Germany (e.g., leading roles in Tatort “Aida” and Polizeiruf 110 “Der Fremde.”) In 1998 he played the title lead in the opening premiere of the theater festival ‘Steirischer Herbst’ in “Sergej,” directed by Christian Stückl.
At the end of the 90’s he primarily worked with two directors: Wolfgang Henschel (e.g., in the role of the psychopath in “Post Mortem – Der Nuttenmörder,” the most successful television movie on private television that year, and in the Klaus-Kinski role in the remake of Edgar Wallace’s “Whiteface”) and Manfred Stelzer.
Since “Life is All You Get” in 1997, Victor has been seen in various feature-length films by Wolfgang Becker, Dani Levy, Matthias Glasner and Gernot Roll.
He produced the solo show “Ein Stück Mond” in 2001, featuring him as a singer along with his band. It premiered in Berlin’s BKA Theater and was part of the opening program of the new Tempodrom at Anhalter Bahnhof.
Victor Schefé has regularly spent time in New York since 2001 and was there during the events of 11 September 2001.
In 2002 he and Andreja Schneider co-hosted the presentation of the Teddy Awards during the Berlin International Film Festival.
From 2002 until 2005 he played in three seasons of the Sat1 Television sitcom “Bewegte Männer,” which received multiple nominations for the Deutscher Fernsehpreis and the German Comedypreis. Victor Schefé was nominated for the Deutscher Fernsehpreis (the German Emmy) in the category of Best Actor Sitcom for his role as ‘Waltraud’ in 2003.
In 2005 he was the host ‘Mr. Richard Smoker’ in Germany’s first ‘new burlesque’ show “Bumps and Grinds.” He played with Suzanne von Borsody at the Renaissance Theater Berlin from 2006 to 2009 in Michael Frayn’s “Donkey’s Years” directed by Torsten Fischer, one of the most successful theater productions of the season. In 2008 he made his first “excursion” into the world of opera at the National Theater in Mannheim, playing the role of Porus in “Allesandro” under the direction of Günter Krämer.
In 2009 Victor Schefé produced his second solo show with band, “Radio Victor – Live”, which premiered at the Bar jeder Vernunft in Berlin. This gave audiences the first opportunity to hear songs penned by Schefé himself.
Victor Schefé made his debut as director, author and producer in 2009/10 with the documentary “B.i.N. – Berlin in November” – a ninety-minute love letter to the city and its inhabitants. The film was selected as a competition entry for the 10th San Francisco Documentary Film Festival and had its international premiere there in fall 2011. The German cinematic release took place on 20 October 2011 in Berlin’s Babylon Cinema. “B.i.N.” also played at the Bitfilm Festival Bangalore in India in December 2011.
From 2010 to 2014, Victor Schefé played the role of Papal Chamberlain ‘Johann Burchard’ in “Borgia”, an English-language Canal+ production, one of the most expensive European television series to date, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Dearbhla Walsh, Metin Huseyin, Christoph Schrewe and Athina Tsangari. Borgia’s creator and showrunner was New Yorker author and Emmy Award winner Tom Fontana, known for “Oz”, the first series on HBO, as well as his work on “St. Elsewhere” and “Homicide”. Academy Award winner Barry Levinson was one of the executive producers. Victor Schefé was also the ‘voice of Borgia’ – the narrator of the recaps at the beginning of every 38 episodes, both in the English-language original as well as for the dubbed German version. Borgia was broadcast worldwide in more than seventy countries (including in the United States and United Kingdom on Netflix, HBO South America, ZDF Germany, Canal+ France).
In fall 2014, Victor Schefé played a role in the historic spy thriller “Bridge of Spies”, directed by Steven Spielberg.
In early 2015, he was in front of the camera with Daniel Craig for the James Bond 007 film, “Spectre”, directed by Sam Mendes.
Victor Schefé is a proud Berliner.