Entertainment & Arts

Nosferatu director's skull believed stolen

Max Shreck as Count Orlok in Nosferatu Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Max Shreck played Count Orlok in Nosferatu, Murnau's best-known film

The skull of FW 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.

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