An overnight success years in the making, Armin Mueller-Stahl spent the post-World War II era in East Berlin studying and playing the violin. The former music teacher made his stage acting debut at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm (home of the famous Berliner Ensemble) in 1953 and worked for more than two decades with another noted East Berlin company, Volksbuehne (People's Stage). After making a smooth transition from stage to screen in "Heimleche Ehe/The Secret Marriage" (1958), he became one of DEFA's (the state-run film conglomerate) outstanding young actors. His three-picture collaboration with director Frank Beyer culminated with "Jakob der Luegner/Jakob the Liar" (1974), the only DEFA picture to ever receive a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination, and he also consolidated his popularity with frequent television appearances. His decision to sign the Biermann Resolution, a manifesto critical of the government, however, led to his blacklisting in 1976. "When you lived in the G.D.R., you were political, even if you didn't want to be," he told Premiere (November 1990). "I felt I had a responsibility to the public."