Rainer Werner Fassbinder was born on May 31, 1945 in the Bavarian town of Bad Wörishofen. His father was a doctor and his mother, Liselotte, a translator. She starred in a number of Fassbinder's films, using her maiden name Pempeit.
Fassbinder attended the Rudolf Steiner Schools in Augsburg and Munich. He didn't finish school, but worked in various jobs. After studying drama at the Fridl-Leonhard Studio in Munich, he joined the 'Action Theater' in 1967.
His first play, Katzelmacher, premiered in April 1968. In 1969, Fassbinder made his first feature-length film, Love is Colder than Death. It was booed at the Berlin Film Festival. Fassbinder's breakthrough came with his next film, Katzelmacher (1969). It played at the Mannheim Film Festival, where it won the Film Critics' Prize, the Prize of the German Academy for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, and eventually, five prizes in all. His commercial breakthrough was The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971), his international breakthrough Ali-Fear Eats the Soul (1974) (International Critics Prize at Cannes). In 1971, he was a founding member of the "Filmverlag der Autoren". His biggest success, which brought him the popular acceptance he sought, came with The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978), part 1 of his FRG-Trilogy. The TV-series Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) and Effie Briest (1974) are two of his best-known adaptations. His last film, Querelle, was shot in 1982. Fassbinder made one Eurro-western “Whity” in 1971.
Fassbinder made 41 movies in 14 years, and also worked as an actor, producer, theatre manager, composer, designer, editor, and cameraman. He died in 1982 of an overdose. His death is often considered the end of New German Cinema.
Today we remember Rainer Werner Fassbinder on what would have been his 65th birthday.