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File photo of Austrian actor Helmut Berger as he arrives for the screening of the film "Saint-Laurent" at the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 17, 2014. Image Credit: AFP

Austrian-born actor Helmut Berger, a European movie star in the 1960s and 1970s who rose to prominence with roles in films by Italian director Luchino Visconti, died Thursday, his agent said. He was 78.

Berger died “peacefully but nevertheless unexpectedly” early Thursday in his home city of Salzburg, agent Helmut Werner wrote on his management company’s website.

Berger was born in Bad Ischl, Austria on May 29, 1944. In 1964, he worked as a film extra in Rome before being discovered by Visconti, who would later become his partner and in 1966 gave him his first role. He played prominent roles in Visconti’s ‘The Damned’, ‘Ludwig’ and ‘Conversation Piece’.

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Austrian actor Helmut Berger performs as 'Don Juan; during a rehearsal for a theatre play. Image Credit: AP

Berger’s credits also included appearances in Vittorio De Sica’s ‘The Garden of the Finzi-Continis’, Massimo Dallamano’s ‘Dorian Gray’, and, later, in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather Part III’.

After a string of health problems, Berger announced the end of his acting career in November 2019.

Berger’s agent said that “he enjoyed his motto ‘La Dolce Vita’ to the full all his life.” He quoted Berger as saying many years ago: “I have lived three lives, and in four languages! Je ne regrette rien!”