Wolfgang Petersen, Director of ‘Das Boot,’ ‘Air Force One,’ Dies Aged 81

German filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen, whose acclaimed films include “Das Boot” and “Air Force One,” died at the age of 81.

Petersen died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 12 in the company of his wife, Maria Borgel Petersen, at their Brentwood residence, publicist Michelle Bega confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Aug. 16.

Petersen started out in German by making TV movies. He earned his first credit in 1965.

In 1974, Petersen made his first feature film, “One of the Other of Us,” a psychological thriller.

In 1981, Petersen made his breakout film, “Das Boot,” a second World War drama about a German U-boat. The film was a critical and commercial hit and it received six Oscar nominations.

Petersen’s first English-language film was the 1984 fantasy adventure, “The NeverEnding Story,” which became an international hit and kicked off a series of Hollywood successes.

In 1993, Peterson made “In the Line of Fire” with Clint Eastwood. It received three Oscar nominations and was the first film to score a significant box office — $177 million worldwide.

In 1997, Petersen made “Air Force One” with Harrison Ford and it earned $315 million worldwide.

After making “The Perfect Storm” in 2000 and “Troy” in 2004, Petersen took a 10-year hiatus before returning in 2016 with the German comedy, “Vier gegen die Bank.”

Aside from his second wife, Maria, Petersen is survived by his son — Daniel Petersen — by his first wife, German actress Ursula Sieg.


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