German director Wolfgang Petersen, known for the World War II submarine epic Das Boot and Air Force One, has died at the age of 81.
The filmmaker died Friday at his home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Rep. Michelle Bega said.
His 1982 breakthrough Das Boot chronicles the intense claustrophobia of life aboard a doomed German submarine during the Battle of the Atlantic, with Jurgen Prochnow as the sub’s commander.
The 149-minute film, heralded as an anti-war masterpiece, was nominated for six Oscars and was the most expensive film in German cinema history.
Petersen’s films featured Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, and Rene Russo.
Das Boot launched Petersen as a filmmaker in Hollywood, where he became a leading action-adventure filmmaker, including 1993’s In The Line Of Fire, starring Clint Eastwood as a secret service agent tasked with protecting the president. that was followed by the Ebola virus-inspired outbreak of 1995 with Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman.
Petersen returned to the presidency on Air Force One in 1997.
Harrison Ford played a president forced to fight terrorists who hijack Air Force One. The film was a hit, grossing $315 million (£260 million) at the worldwide box office.
Petersen’s 2000 film The Perfect Storm, based on the true story of a Massachusetts fishing boat lost at sea, featured George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and a 100-foot computer-generated wave.
Budgeted at $120 million, the film grossed $328.7 million.
For Peterson, who grew up on the north coast of Germany, the sea held his fascination for a long time.
Petersen’s other films include The NeverEnding Story and Troy with Brad Pitt.
Born in 1941, the filmmaker recalled running alongside American ships as a child as they dropped food.
In the turmoil of post-war Germany, Petersen, who began in the theater before attending Berlin’s Film and Television Academy in the late 1960s, gravitated toward Hollywood movies with clear clashes between good and bad. the evil
He was first married to the German actress Ursula Sieg. When they divorced in 1978, he married Maria-Antoinette Borgel, a German script supervisor and assistant director.
He is survived by Borgel, his son Daniel Petersen and two grandchildren.