Born in Bergen, Norway in 1893, Egede-Nissen was a daughter — the eldest of six — of Norwegian postmaster and politician Adam Hjalmar Egede-Nissen (1868–1953 and his wife Georga («Goggi») Wilhelma Ellertsen (1871–1959); she also had five brothers.
Egede-Nissen was twice married to actors. In 1915 she married the German actor Georg Alexander (1888–1945), by whom she had had her son Georg (1915–1972); in 1924 they divorced, and from 1924 to 1931 she was married to the Austrian actor Paul Richter (1895–1961). Upon their marriage, Richter adopted her nine-year-old son, who later, under the name Georg Richter, became known as an actor and film producer. In 1940, she married for the third time, with Dag Havrevold, a municipal judge. Together they had a son, also named Dag Havrevold, who had been born in 1938. Despite her first marriage to Alexander Richter, in Germany she kept her surname Egede-Nissen, by which she was known in German film. After returning to Norway in the early 1930s, however, she worked under the name of Aud Richter.
Four younger sisters and two younger brothers all became actors as well: Gerd Grieg (1895–1988), Ada Kramm (1899–1981), Oscar Egede-Nissen (1903–1976), Stig Egede-Nissen (1907–1988), Lill Egede-Nissen (1909–1962) and Gøril Havrevold (1914–1992). Aud Egede-Nissen died in Oslo, Norway on 15 November 1974 at the age of 81.
Aud made her acting debut on the Norwegian stage in 1911, appearing next in Norwegian director Bjørn Bjørnson's 1913 film Scenens børn. In 1913 she moved to Denmark and started working for Dania Biofilm Kompagni in Copenhagen. In 1914, Bjørn Bjørnson invited her to Berlin, where there were opportunities in the rapidly expanding film industry. This was the beginning of a remarkable career in German cinema. In 1916, she appeared in Otto Rippert's six-part sci-fi serial Homunculus. Also that year, she starred as the character "Christine Daaé" in a German adaptation, directed by Ernst Matray, of Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera opposite Swedish actor Nils Olaf Chrisander; no prints of this lost film are known to exist.
From 1917 Aud Egede-Nissen was not contented with being an actor in other companies' films in Berlin. In partnership with her husband Georg Alexander, she started the Egede-Nissen Film Co., where she was the artistic and financial manager (the company is also known as Egede-Nissen Filmbyrå). Alexander directed most of their films, while Aud Egede-Nissen and her sisters Ada Kramm and Gerd Grieg usually played the female lead roles. The great majority of the company's films were lost, but production notes suggest that they were mainly simple melodramas in serial form or detective films. In the two years between 1917 and 1919 her film company produced at least 29 films. Harder times and centralization in the German film industry after World War I ultimately contributed to the closing of Egede-Nissen's film company at the beginning of the 1920s. She focused now on her own acting career and quickly got a breakthrough. In 1920, she starred in two films directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
In the period before 1931 she acted in over 80 films and directed 18 more, having worked with many noted directors of early German cinema, including Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Karl Grune, and Gerhard Lamprecht. She had major roles in big movies of 1922 like Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler and F. W. Murnau's Phantom. Paul Richter, who was to become her second husband, also had a role in Dr. Mabuse. In 1924, the year Aud married him, he ascended to superstar status, taking the lead role of King Siegfried in Lang's Die Nibelungen. Along with Paul Richter, Aud also played in the peculiar crime comedy Snowshoe Bandits, a 1928 Norwegian-German co-production — also known under the titles Bergenstoget plyndret i natt and Schneeschuhbanditen — and based on a crime novel by Nils Lie and Nordahl Grieg. Egede-Nissen's German film career, however, came to an end shortly after the advent of sound films, though she did return to Norway to make two films there in the 1940s.Die Filmprinzessin (1914)
Mobilmachung in der Küche (1914)
Das Geheimnis der Mumie (1915)
Das Phantom der Oper (1916)
Die Lieblingsfrau des Maharadscha (1917)
Das Geheimnis der Chrysanthemen (1920)
Anna Boleyn (1920)
Ships and People (1920)
The Raft of the Dead (1921)
Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1921)
Lucrezia Borgia (1922)
Die Austreibung (1923)
Die Straße (1923)
Carlos and Elisabeth (1924)
The New Land (1924)
Slums of Berlin (1925)
Peter the Pirate (1925)
The Red Mouse (1926)
People to Each Other (1926)
Eternal Allegiance (1926)
Battle of the Sexes (1926)
Sister Veronika (1927)
Lord of the Night (1927)
King of the Centre Forwards (1927)
The Villa in Tiergarten Park (1927)
Snowshoe Bandits (1928)
The Woman in the Advocate's Gown (1929)
Zwischen Nacht und Morgen (1931)
Hansen og Hansen (Norway, 1941)
Trysil-Knut (Norway, 1942); Swedish title Nordlandets våghals