Ulrich Matthes was born in Berlin. His first engagements took him to Theater Krefeld Mönchengladbach, the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and the Bayerische Staatsschauspiel. In 1988 he moved to the Münchner Kammerspiele, and in 1992 to the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. Ulrich Matthes has been a member of the Deutsches Theater ensemble since 2004. He has won many prizes, including the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring for Outstanding Achievements in Acting in 2004, and – at the Theatertreffen Berlin 2007 – the Theaterpreis Berlin of the Stiftung Preußischer Seehandlung. In 2005 and 2008 he was selected as Actor of the Year by the magazine Theater heute, while in 2008 he received the Faust theatre prize for his role as Vanya in Jürgen Gosch’s production of Uncle Vanya. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Bavarian Film Award for his performance in the film Feuerreiter (Fire Rider). In 2015 he received the Grimme Prize for his role in the Tatort film Im Schmerz geboren (Born in Pain), as well as a Goldene Kamera award for Best German Actor. In 2015 he also won a Deutsche Fernsehakademie award for his role in the TV series Bornholmer Straße. In 2018 the film Fremder Feind was awarded Best Television Film by the German Academy of Performing Arts. In 2022, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit. From 2019 to 2022, Ulrich Matthes was president of the German Film Academy. He is a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin and the European Film Academy.