Born in Frankfurt in 1889, Otto Frank was the son of a banker, and would follow his father's footsteps into banking. Frank was conscripted into the Germany Army during World War I. Otto, wife Edith and his two daughters left Germany in 1933 for Amsterdam where he set up a company. After years in hiding, capture, imprisonment and eventual liberation, Otto returned to Amsterdam in 1945 to learn he was the only surviving member of his family. After receiving Anne's diary and reading it, he was amazed at his daughter's deep thoughts, but unsure of publication. Encouraged by friends and family, he published the diary, and spent the rest of his life along with his second wife promoting its message and answering thousands of letters. Otto died in 1980.
Considered one of Scotland's finest actors, Iain Glen grew up in Edinburgh, where he suffered an unhappy childhood. He went on to the University of Aberdeen, where he found an escape through acting. He eventually dropped out to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Over the past 25 years, Glen has taken on everything from low-budget independent films to major Hollywood blockbusters such as Tomb Raider and Resident Evil; from BBC costume dramas to a nude appearance opposite Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room and from popular British television series to stage roles in Shakespearean classics. Glen's Masterpiece credits include Kidnapped, Wives & Daughters, Painted Lady, The Wyvern Mystery, and Adam Bede.
Edith Hollander was born in 1900 in Germany to a prominent Jewish family. She would carry on her family's religious interests. Edith married Otto Frank when she was 25 and he was 36. The family left Germany for Amsterdam, but Edith was homesick, making for a difficult transition. The mother of two daughters, Edith related to her children more as friends, and in the confined space of the annex, she and daughter Anne often quarreled. Edith hoped to teach Anne "the art of living," but was often bleak during her years in hiding. Edith died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945.
The self-described "temperamental and noisy middle child of an expressive mother and a much older father," Greig took part in numerous school plays, and ultimately continued her education in acting. First recognized for her voice as part of the long-running BBC radio drama The Archers, Greig's career moved towards comedy with roles in the English TV series Black Books and Green Wing.
Greig's stage credits include the Royal Shakespeare Company's Much Ado About Nothing, for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award (England's most prestigious theater award) in the best actress category. In 2008, Greig appeared in the play God of Carnage with Ralph Fiennes. Greig can be seen in the 2010 Masterpiece production of Jane Austen's Emma.
Annelies Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929, the second daughter of Otto and Edith Frank. For her 13th birthday, Anne received an album she would use as her diary, recounting her family's time in hiding from 1942-1944. She worked extensively on her diary while in hiding, also writing a second version intended for publication. Anne and her family were arrested in 1944, and Anne died of exhaustion and typhoid fever in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, weeks before British troops liberated the camp. Anne was 15 years old.
Ellie Kendrick began acting professionally at age 12 and was a member of Britain's National Youth Theatre. Despite a lack of formal acting training, she went on to land the iconic role of Anne Frank, for which she has received critical acclaim. Kendrick followed up her role as Anne playing Juliet in London's Globe Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet and with an appearance in the Academy Award-nominated film An Education. Kendrick is currently in her first year at England's University of Cambridge, studying English.
Born in 1926, Margot Frank was three years older than her sister Anne. A noteworthy student, Margot's mother often implored Anne to be like her sister. Anne wrote that Margot was also recording her thoughts while in hiding, but no such diary has ever been found. Miep Gies, who helped the secret annex inhabitants during their time in hiding, later recalled Margot as making herself invisible in hiding and not talking much. Margot died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
Felicity Jones grew up in Birmingham, England, where her enthusiasm for drama began at an early age. Jones made her television debut at the age of 12, and at age 15 she joined the cast of the long-running BBC radio drama The Archers. After graduating from England's University of Oxford in 2006, Jones went on to play Catherine Morland in Masterpiece's Northanger Abbey. She has been seen in films such as Cheri with Michelle Pfeiffer, Flashbacks of a Fool with Daniel Craig and Brideshead Revisited alongside Emma Thompson. Despite her reputation for playing conservative characters, Jones has said she's a complete rebel.
Hermann van Daan
Anne used the name van Daan in her diary as a pseudonym for the real family name, van Pels. The Frank family knew the van Pels long before their years together in the secret annex. Hermann van Pels started working with Otto Frank in 1938 when Frank expanded his Opekta company with Pectacon, a spice business. Hermann was handy and helpful during the time in hiding, maintaining a sense of humor and optimism about the end of the war. He died in 1945 after a long march from the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Ron Cook grew up in Coventry, England, where he had a "vague idea of being a teacher." It was his headmaster who told him he came alive on stage, so Cook decided to study theater in education. He got his first job as the front half of a horse in a stage production of Aladdin and has been acting ever since.
Professionally acting since the mid-1970s, Cook has had a prolific career in theater, film, and television. His list of screen credits includes the films Chocolat, Hot Fuzz, Topsy Turvy, and Quills; and the Masterpiece productions The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Lost Prince, Casanova, He Knew He Was Right, Filth, and Little Dorrit. Cook has also appeared in the stage productions of Twelfth Night, alongside Derek Jacobi, The Seafarer, and Juno and the Paycock, which earned him a Laurence Olivier Award (England's most prestigious theater award) in 2000.
Petronella van Daan
Anne used the name van Daan in her diary as a pseudonym for the real family name, van Pels. Born in 1900, Auguste van Pels fled with her husband and only son to the Netherlands in 1937. In hiding, Auguste capably handled tasks such as cooking and finances. Miep Gies, who helped the secret annex inhabitants during their time in hiding, described Auguste van Pels as outspoken and coquettish. Anne Frank herself observed Auguste's inclination to stir up trouble while in hiding. Petronella died in transit to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1945.
Lesley Sharp didn't grow up in a theatrical household, but retreated into a world of imagination when her mother became ill. Sharp applied to London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but was at first rejected. She eventually was accepted at the school.
Sharp has been seen in the Masterpiece productions Return to Cranford and Prime Suspect. Her numerous stage credits include Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts directed by fellow actor Iain Glen (Otto Frank) and Uncle Vanya (alongside Ian McKellan), for which she was given a Laurence Olivier Award (England's most prestigious theater award) in the best supporting actress category. Sharp's film work includes two films with director Mike Leigh, Vera Drake and Naked, as well as The Full Monty.
Peter van Daan
Anne used the name van Daan in her diary as a pseudonym for the real family name, van Pels. Anne Frank wasn't initially impressed with Peter van Pels, thinking him lazy and too sensitive. Yet, more than a year later, she had fallen in love with him, and he was the first boy to kiss her. Peter died in the Mauthausen concentration camp in 1945.
Geoff Breton trained at the Drama Centre in London. He landed his first big role as the lead in the BBBC television adaptation of Jonathan Coe's novel The Rotters' Club. He has appeared on Masterpiece in Inspector Lewis and The Old Curiosity Shop. Of his role as Peter, Breton told the Daily Mail, "The pressure to get Peter right was terrifying. There is very little description of him in the diaries and only two pictures exist."
Anne used the name Albert Dussel in her diary as a pseudonym for Fritz Pfeffer. Pfeffer was a dentist, known to both the Frank and van Pels families. Divorced from his first wife, Pfeffer met Charlotte Kaletta, but couldn't marry her due to laws that prohibited Jews from marrying non-Jews. Pfeffer became the eighth person in the secret annex through his connection to Miep Gies. In hiding, Anne initially had a positive reaction to Fritz although the two were forced to share a room. However, her opinion would soon shift. Fritz died in the Neuengamme concentration camp in 1944.
Nicholas Farrell made his film debut in Chariots of Fire. He has appeared in dozens of theatrical and television dramas including Masterpiece's Collision, Jericho, The Jury, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Foyle's War, To Play the King, Poirot, The Choir, Bramwell, The Jewel in the Crown and The Ginger Tree.
Johannes Kleiman met Otto Frank in 1923, the start of a long friendship. The two began working together in 1938. In planning for the time in hiding, Otto and Johannes elected to turn a vacant portion of the company into a secret annex. During the time in hiding, Johannes and his wife would sometimes visit on weekends, despite the significant danger. When the inhabitants were ultimately arrested, Johannes was jailed as well, but released due to ill health. After the war was over, Johannes was devoted to preserving the secret annex although he didn't live to see its opening to the public in 1960 as he died in 1959.
Roger Frost has appeared in the Masterpiece production Our Mutual Friend. He has also starred in numerous British television series including Kingdom, Holby City, Doc Martin and Doctors.
Victor Kugler was born in 1900 to an unwed mother, a seamstress. He eventually joined the military in the Austrian marines, but was discharged after two months after being wounded. Later in Germany, he worked for a company that sold pectin to jam makers, and met Otto Frank. Along with Johannes Kleiman, Victor assisted during the time in the secret annex with finances and safety, also bringing newspapers and magazines. Anne referred to him as the protector in her diary. Imprisoned when the annex inhabitants were captured, Victor was forced into hard labor, but escaped in 1945. He ultimately moved to Canada, but remained active in activities related to Anne Frank. Victor died in 1981.
Tim Dantay's Masterpiece credits include Bleak House, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, and Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. He has been acting since the 1980s and has appeared in numerous British television dramas including Survivors, The Bill, Coronation Street, Casualty and Murphy's Law.
Hermine Santrouschitz was born in Vienna in 1909. One of many Austrian children suffering severe hunger after World War I, she was sent away and adopted by a Dutch family, acquiring the name Miep Gies. She began working with Otto Frank in 1933, and was one of several employees to assist in the Frank family's move to the secret annex. During the time in hiding, Miep would visit the annex daily, while also secretly housing someone at the apartment she shared with her husband. After the annex inhabitants were captured, Miep found Anne's diary and ultimately gave it to Otto Frank. Miep's memories were captured in the book Anne Frank Remembered. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 2009, and died in 2010. Miep was the last living protector of Anne Frank.
At an early age, Kate Ashfield was involved in a number of local youth theater groups and went on to study at London's Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Drama. Since then she has built her career on difficult, emotionally intense, roles. She won the British Independent Film Award for best actress in 2001 for her role in Late Night Shopping. Ashfield has appeared on Masterpiece in Collision and Pollyanna. She is known for her role in the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead.
Bep (Elisabeth) Voskuijl
The oldest of eight children, Bep (Elisabeth) Voskuijl was born in 1919. She started working for Otto Frank at age 18, and was one of the company employees who helped the secret annex inhabitants during their time in hiding. Her father built the bookcase that covered the entrance of the annex. While in hiding, Bep had dinner with the inhabitants every night. Often barraged with personal questions by Anne, Bep would remain quiet, not wanting to be memorialized in Anne's diary. Rarely interviewed, Bep died in 1983.
Mariah Gale admits to being a shy child for years and it was acting that brought her out of her shell. Gale trained at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and first gained notoriety in 2005 for her role in the small theatrical production 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, for which she won two prestigious British theatrical awards — the Critics' Circle and the Ian Charleson. She is currently a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company ensemble and in 2008 she played Ophelia opposite David Tennant's Hamlet. Gale can also be seen in the 2009 Masterpiece production Oliver Twist.