Wolfgang Petersen, star director of films such as “Das Boot”, “Outbreak”, “Air Force One” and “Der Sturm”, is dead. He died of pancreatic cancer on Friday at the age of 81, as his assistant said on Tuesday German press agency announced.
Born in Emden in East Frisia and raised in Hamburg, the director learned his craft at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. In 1971 he had success with the “Tatort” thriller “Blechschaden”. The episode “Maturity Certificate” with Nastassja Kinski made him and the very young actress famous overnight.
Petersen became a taboo breaker in 1977 with the film “The Consequence”, which is about homosexual love.
His first cinema hit in Germany paved his way to Hollywood: There were six Oscar nominations for “Das Boot” (1981), a cinema epic about the crew of a German submarine in World War II, with actors such as Jürgen Prochnow and Herbert Grönemeyer. Since 1987 the director lived with his wife in Los Angeles.
There he brought Hollywood stars like Clint Eastwood (“In the Line of Fire”), Dustin Hoffman (“Outbreak”), Harrison Ford (“Air Force One”), George Clooney (“The Tempest”) and Brad Pitt (” Troy”) in front of the camera.
Petersen returned to his homeland in 2016 for a remake of his old TV comedy “Four Against the Bank” from the 1970s. The crook film was prominently cast with Til Schweiger, Matthias Schweighöfer, Jan Josef Liefers and Michael “Bully” Herbig. (dpa)