The famous German film director Wolfgang Petersen, creator of the films “The Submarine”, “Air Force One” and “The Perfect Storm”, has died at the age of 81, his assistant Michel Bega announced.
Petersen died of pancreatic cancer on Friday in Los Angeles.
The director won the most awards of his career with 1981’s World War II epic Das Boot, but his career has been filled with a number of films that hold special places in the hearts of action fans. He was respected both in Germany and in California, where he worked with stars such as Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Rene Russo, Glenn Close during his decades-long film career.
The film “The Submarine”, nominated for the “Oscar” in six categories, paved the way for the German to Hollywood.
He settled with his wife Maria in Los Angeles in 1987. Followed by the fantasy film “Neverending Tale” and the sci-fi “My Enemy”, and the political thriller “In the Line of Fire” with Clint Eastwood as a Secret Service agent service was a box office hit in 1993. Then several more hits were released under Petersen’s direction: “Outbreak” with Dustin Hoffman, “Air Force One” with Harrison Ford, “The Perfect Storm” with George Clooney and “Troy” with Brad Pete.
Wolfgang Petersen was born on March 14, 1941 in Emden, Germany, but grew up in Hamburg. He is a graduate of the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin.
“Working with Wolfgang on ‘Air Force One’ remains a special memory,” actress Glenn Close said in a statement, quoted by CNN. “Although the script was exciting and incredibly tense, I remember a lot of laughter, especially in the scenes around the huge table in the War Room.”
According to her, Petersen would set up a remote-controlled camera that could be rotated into position, allowing him to film all the actors, and Petersen would signal them when they were being filmed.
“He knew the camera would stop on you while he was setting up the shot. He kept pointing and saying, ‘Acting… acting… NOT acting… NOT acting… acting!'” she recalled. “He wasn’t wasting anyone’s time. My memory is of a man full of joy in life, doing what he loved to do most.”