'Nosferatu' Director's Skull Stolen From German Grave
The Hollywood Reporter 7/16/2015 By Georg Szalai
The skull of director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, best known for vampire classic Nosferatu (1922), has disappeared from his grave in Stahnsdorf, outside of Berlin, German media reports said citing authorities.
The skull was found missing on Monday and was believed stolen due to slight damage to the grave. The theft is thought to have taken place between July 4 and July 12, according to the reports. Police opened a probe and called on possible witnesses to come forward.
Murnau died in a car accident in Santa Barbara in 1931 at the age of 42. His Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won a couple of Oscars at the first-ever Academy Awards in 1929.
Nosferatu was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stoker’s family won a court case. All copies of the movies were ordered to be destroyed, but some prints survived and helped make the film a cult classic.
Nosferatu director's skull believed stolen
The skull of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, the director of 1920s silent vampire classic Nosferatu, has been removed from his grave, according to authorities in Germany.
The theft from the Stahnsdorf cemetery outside Berlin is thought to have taken place between 4 and 12 July.
It is not known whether the grave, which sits beside those of Murnau's two brothers, was targeted specifically.
Born in 1888 in Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau died in a car accident in California in 1931.
His best-known film remains 1922's Nosferatu, an unauthorised adaptation of the Dracula story starring Max Shreck as the vampire Count Orlok.
Murnau moved to Hollywood in 1926, where he directed the Oscar-winning silent drama Sunrise among other films.
The making of Nosferatu was dramatised in 2000's Shadow of the Vampire, in which Murnau was played by John Malkovich and Shreck by Willem Dafoe.
Police have called for witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious at the cemetery in recent weeks to come forward with information.