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Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau was born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe in Bielefeld on 28 December 1888. He studied Philology in Berlin and History of Art and Literature in Heidelberg, and then broke off his studies to attend the Max Reinhardt Drama School and became a regular member of the ensemble from 1913. He directed such films as Nosferatu (1922), The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann, 1924), Faust - A German Folk Tale (Faust - eine deutsche Volkssage, 1925/126) and Tartueff (1926), among others. In 1925, he received a four-year contract from Hollywood and made the masterpiece Sunrise (1927) before severing his contract to make Tabu in the South Seas. He was killed in a car accident a week before Tabu's premiere in 1931.