‘Sophie’s Choice’ Cast: Where Are They Now?

Even if you’ve never seen “Sophie’s Choice,” you know what the term means: An impossible, heart-wrenching decision that will destroy you no matter what you decide.

It’s the role that, more than any other, defined Meryl Streep’s career. She won a Best Actress Oscar for playing the beautiful but guilt-ridden Holocaust survivor in which she demonstrated her stunning command of foreign accents, dramatic weight loss and every other tool at an actor’s disposal. Although it’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since the film was released (it opened on December 8, 1982), viewers were reminded of it in the lead-up to the 2012 Oscars, when it was pointed out that the last time Streep had won was for “Sophie” (that drought that ended when she brought home the trophy for”The Iron Lady”).

With her third Oscar win, Streep remains at the top of her game, but what about the rest of her co-stars? (We wish we knew where the young actors who played her son and daughter are, but “Sophie’s Choice” was the only film either has appeared in.) Let’s find out what the cast of “Sophie’s Choice” is up to now.

PHOTOS/VIDEOS:

  • Meryl Streep (Zofia “Sophie” Zawistowska)

  • Meryl Streep (Zofia “Sophie” Zawistowska)

    Streep was already an Oscar winner, having won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” but with “Sophie’s Choice,” she gave what is still considered one of the greatest performances of all time. The complex role required her to learn German and Polish and become rail thin to convincingly play an Auschwitz inmate. Streep won her first Best Actress Oscar for the role. She would eventually be nominated a record 17 times, beating previous record holder Katharine Hepburn, before finally winning a third Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” in 2012. Her next film is “August: Osage County” as the matriarch of a troubled family.

  • Kevin Kline (Nathan Landau)

  • Kevin Kline (Nathan Landau)

    Sophie’s mercurial lover, Nathan, was Kline’s first film role. Beforehand, he had won two Tony Awards, including as the Pirate King of “Pirates of Penzance,” a role he reprised in the 1983 movie. He was in-demand in the ’80s, with roles in “The Big Chill,” “Silverado,” and “A Fish Called Wanda,” which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He played Douglas Fairbanks in the film “Chaplin” and had a dual role in the 1993 comedy “Dave.” Although he would have hits with “In & Out” and “The Ice Storm,” later films “The Emperor’s Club” and “It’s De-Lovely” failed to connect with audiences. He’s currently filming the “Hangover-esque” comedy “Last Vegas” with Robert De Niro, and is set to play an aging Errol Flynn in “The Last of Robin Hood.”

  • Peter MacNicol (Stingo)

  • Peter MacNicol (Stingo)

    Before playing a naive Southern writer who falls for the title character in”Sophie’s Choice,” MacNicol starred in the fantasy film “Dragonslayer.” These days, MacNicol is best known to audiences as the unlucky-in-love Dr. Stark on “Grey’s Anatomy,” or for his Emmy-winning role as lawyer John Cage on “Ally McBeal.” You may also remember him as Sigourney Weaver’s obsessed boss in “Ghostbusters II” and from roles on “Chicago Hope,” “24″ or as physicist Dr. Larry Fleinhardt on “Numb3rs.” He was seen most recently in “Battleship” as the Secretary of Defense.

  • Josh Mostel (Morris Fink)

  • Josh Mostel (Morris Fink)

    In “Sophie’s Choice,” Mostel played a fellow renter who called Nathan a “Golem” because of the way he treated Sophie. He made his screen debut in the 1971 Robert Mitchum movie “Going Home,” and played King Herod in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Norman in “Harry and Tonto.” In 1979, he landed the role of “Blotto” (John Belushi’s brother) in the short-lived TV series “Delta House.” Later films include “Billy Madison,” “Rounders,” and “State of Play.” He’ll next be seen in “Growing Up (And Other Lies),” starring Adam Brody.

  • Robin Bartlett (Lillian Grossman)

  • Robin Bartlett (Lillian Grossman)

    Bartlett made her acting debut in another Holocaust film, the 1980 TV movie “Playing for Time.” After “Sophie’s Choice,” she had roles in “Moonstruck,” “Lean on Me” and “Regarding Henry.” From 1994-1999, she had a recurring role on “Mad About You” as Paul Reiser’s sister, Debbie Buchman. More recent credits include “Shutter Island” and a guest spot on “CSI: Miami.”

  • Günther Maria Halmer (Rudolph Hoess)

  • Günther Maria Halmer (Rudolph Hoess)

    In the film, Halmer plays the real-life Nazi commander for whom Sophie works at Auschwitz. He again played the character (not to be confused with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolph Hess) in the 1988 miniseries “War and Remembrance.” One of his few English-language films was “Gandhi” in 1981. He still acts for German TV.

  • Karlheinz Hackl (SS Doctor)

    His role as the sadistic SS officer who — in the film’s most famous scene — forces Sophie to choose between her children was Hackl’s film debut. He continues to act in German movies and television and teaches at the Max Reinhardt Seminar school of drama in Vienna.

  • Josef Sommer (the Narrator)

    Perhaps best known to film fans as the corrupt police chief in the 1985 film “Witness,” Sommer narrates the film as the adult version of Stingo (you can hear him in the accompanying clip). He made his film debut in 1971 in “Dirty Harry” and appeared in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Absence of Malice,” and “Reds.” He appeared in flashbacks in the 1982 film “Still of the Night” as the man Meryl Streep is accused of murdering and shared the screen with her in “Silkwood.” More recently, he played the President in “X-Men: The Last Stand” and had an uncredited role as a D.A. in the comedy “The Other Guys.”

  • Director Alan J. Pakula

    Before “Sophie’s Choice,” his films included landmark ’70s thrillers “Klute,” “The Parallax View” and “All the President’s Men.” Pakula originally wanted Liv Ullman for the role of Sophie, but Streep convinced him she was the only one to play the part. Afterwards, he directed “Presumed Innocent” and “The Pelican Brief” with Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts. His last film was “The Devil’s Own,” starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt. Pakula died in 1998 at the age of 70 in a traffic accident.


Even if you’ve never seen “Sophie’s Choice,” you know what the term means: An impossible, heart-wrenching choice that will destroy you no matter what you decide. It’s the role that, more than any …

Even if you’ve never seen “Sophie’s Choice,” you know what the term means: An impossible, heart-wrenching choice that will destroy you no matter what you decide. It’s the role that, more than any …

Filed by Sharon Knolle  | 

 

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