Michael Heltau was born in Ingolstadt in 1933. He trained at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna and had engagements at the Residenztheater in Munich, Theater in der Josefstadt, Schillertheater, Theater am Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and Thalia Theater in Hamburg, as well as at the Volkstheater in Vienna. From 1959 to 1961 he performed at the Ruhrfestspiele theatre festival and has appeared regularly at the Salzburg Festival since 1964. He has received the Karl Skraup Award and the Kainz Medal of the City of Vienna, and was granted the title of Kammerschauspieler in 1986. In 1993 Heltau became the youngest member of the Burgtheater to become a “doyen”, a title given the most senior and eminent ensemble member. He was also named an honorary member of the Burgtheater and of Vienna’s Volkstheater in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In 2005 Heltau received the Nestroy Theatre Award for his life’s work, and in 2010 he was awarded the Burgtheater Ring, which was established especially for honorary members of the Burgtheater.