Josef Sommer is an American-German stage and film actor.
He was born Maximilian Josef Sommer in Greifswald, Germany and was raised in North Carolina, the son of Elisabeth and Clemens Sommer, a professor of art history at the University of North Carolina. He studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He has a daughter, Maria.
Sommer made his acting debut at the age of nine in a North Carolina production of Watch on the Rhine. He made his film debut in 1971 in Dirty Harry, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind in 1977, and appeared in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller Witness opposite Harrison Ford and Moonlight and Valentino with Elizabeth Perkins. He appeared as President Gerald Ford opposite Gena Rowlands in the 1987 made-for-TV movie The Betty Ford Story. He has also had starring roles in two short-lived series, Hothouse and Under Cover. As of 2007, he has appeared, as a character actor, in almost 100 films. Some of his more famous roles have been as a crooked businessman or a corrupt politician. Yet, he displayed abundant humanity without being seen on screen when Sommer lent his talents as the poignant Narrator, Stingo as an adult, in the acclaimed 1982 tour-de-force Sophie's Choice in which Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for Best Actress.