Paul Muni was an Austrian-born American stage and film actor who grew up in Chicago. He started his acting career in the Yiddish theatre. During the 1930s, he was considered one of the most prestigious actors at Warner Brothers studios, and was given the rare privilege of choosing which parts he wanted.
His acting quality, usually playing a powerful character, such as the lead in Scarface, was partly a result of his intense preparation for his parts, often immersing himself in study of the real character's traits and mannerisms. He was also highly skilled in using make-up techniques, a talent he learned from his parents, who were also actors, and from his early years on stage with the Yiddish Theater in Chicago. At the age of 12, he played the stage role of an 80-year-old man; in one of his films, Seven Faces, he played seven different characters.
He was nominated six times for an Oscar, winning once as Best Actor in The Story of Louis Pasteur. He won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award.