Bavaria is often called "Germany's California," due to its appearance and its laid-back lifestyle--and also because of the thriving film industry in its main city of Munich. That production hub fueled the career of Josef Bierbichler, one of the country's most respected theater, film, and TV actors. Not long after he started acting onscreen in 1975, he appeared in the first of many collaborations with friend and former roommate Herbert Achternbusch. This was "The Atlantic Swimmers" (1976), the latter's film about several improbable cross-ocean water rats. That same year, Bierbichler took a key role (as the narrator Hias) in the strange 18th-century fable "Heart of Glass," from celebrated director Werner Herzog. Following this, the actor went through a traditional rite of passage for German thespians by playing a guest role on the decades-long cop show "Tatort" (1977). The remainder of Bierbichler's career was spent mostly in the theater, followed by film roles, then TV. As for movies, his most prominent appearances were in such films as 2009's Cannes Film Festival award-winning "White Ribbon." He also appeared in several other efforts from Achternbusch and Herzog, notably the latter's "Woyzeck" (1979), a story of military cruelty starring Klaus Kinski.