Wolfgang Petersen, director of ‘Air Force One’ and ‘Das Boot’, has died aged 81

The director also helmed ‘The Perfect Storm’ and ‘The NeverEnding Story’

Wolfgang Petersen, the Oscar-nominated director known for films Das Boot, Air Force One and others, has died aged 81.

Petersen died on Friday (August 12) at his home in Brentwood, California from pancreatic cancer, his publicist confirmed (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The German director, producer and writer had his breakthrough film with World War II epic Das Boot, released in 1982. The film was nominated for six Oscars, including two for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

His first English-language project was 1984 fantasy film The NeverEnding Story, which received two sequels in 1990 and 1994 respectively.

Air Force One
Harrison Ford in ‘Air Force One’ CREDIT: Everett Collection/Alamy

Petersen achieved Hollywood success with his later works, including 1993’s In The Line Of Fire with Clint Eastwood, 1995’s Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, and action thriller Air Force One in 1997 with Harrison Ford as the US president.

In 2000, he also directed disaster film The Perfect Storm, based on a true story about a commercial fishing vessel that becomes lost at sea. The film, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane and William Fichtner, became a huge box office success and grossed nearly $328million (£271million) at the worldwide box office.

His later films included 2004’s historical epic Troy starring Brad Pitt and 2006 action disaster film Poseidon, which was a loose remake of the 1972 original.

Petersen’s last film was 2016’s crime comedy Vier gegen die Bank, his first German-language film since Das Boot.

The director is survived by his wife Maria, son Daniel and two grandchildren.

Mike Flanagan, director of Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Very sad to hear Wolfgang Petersen passed away. I love Das Boot, In The Line Of Fire, The Perfect Storm, Outbreak… and I’ll always have a very special place in my heart for The NeverEnding Story. Rest In Peace.”

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