The actor who nearly wrecked acclaimed director MICHAEL POWELL’s career in “Peeping Tom”, KARL BOHM, has died at 86.

The only child of conductor Karl Bohm and the soprano Thea Linhard, Bohm pursued acting, first in the theater and later in some 45 films and numerous television productions.

Bohm's international breakthrough came playing opposite Romy Schneider as Austrian Kaiser Franz Joseph in the historic melodrama “Sissi” (1955). The film was a global hit and spawned two sequels.

The success led to international offers, including the leading role in Michael Powell's serial killer classic "Peeping Tom" (1960) where he plays the uber-creepy, voyeur Mark Lewis.

Powell who had achieved international fame as the director of "The Red Shoes", “Black Narcissus”  and other classics career suddenly halted when "Peeping Tom" was released. In it, Bohm plays a sadistic serial killer who films his victim's deaths with a camera to capture their last moment of life. "Peeping Tom" actually out Psycho-ed "Psycho" in bizarre sexual deviance and sick murders.

The film was reviled by critics and director Powell was finished. His widow Thelma Schoonmaker later teamed with Martin Scorsese as his editor.

Bohm also appeared as Jakob Grimm in George Pal's MGM Cinerama fantasy epic "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" (1962)  and as Ludwig van Beethoven in "The Magnificent Rebel", for "The Wonderful World of Disney" teleseries.

In the 1970s, Bohm worked with groundbreaking director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, appearing in four of his films including "Effi Briest".

Bohm said it was Fassbinder who opened his eyes to politics and turned him into an activist on global issues. He later founded the worldwide charity group Humans for Humans.