German director Wolfgang Petersen, whose WWII submarine epic Das Boot catapulted him to Hollywood’s A-list blockbusters, has died at the age of 81.

Petersen died Friday at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Michelle Vega said.

Born in the northern German port city of Emden, Petersen made two feature films before his landmark 1982 film Das Boot.

Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney arrive at UK premiere of Perfect Storm (PA)

The 149-minute film (original cut was 210 minutes) chronicles the intense claustrophobia of life aboard a doomed German U-boat during the Battle of the Atlantic, with Jürgen Plochnau as a submarine commander. Thing.

Known as an anti-war masterpiece, Das Boot was nominated for six Oscars, including directing and adapting the 1973 Lothar-Gunther Buchheim best-selling novel Petersen.

Born in 1941, Petersen remembered his childhood running alongside American ships as they dumped food. Petersen, who began acting in the late 1960s before joining Berlin’s Film and Television Academy in the turmoil of post-war Germany, gravitated toward Hollywood films with their distinct clash of good and evil.

“At school, they never talked about the Hitler era. Told.

“We children were looking for a more glamorous dream than rebuilding a destroyed country, so when American pop culture came to Germany, we were ready to make it happen. We all lived for American cinema, so by the time I was 11, I had decided that I wanted to be a filmmaker.”

Das Boot launched Petersen as a Hollywood filmmaker to explore war (2004’s Troy and Brad Pitt), pandemics (1995’s Ebola virus-inspired outbreak) and other maritime disasters (2000’s Perfect Storm). and 2006’s Poseidon – A remake of The Poseidon Adventure).

But Petersen’s first forays in American filmmaking were children’s fantasies. He is the captivating 1984 film The Neverending Story.

Adapted from Michael Ende’s novel, The NeverEnding Story was about a magical book that takes its young readers into a fantasy world where a dark force known as Nothing rampages.

Perhaps Petersen’s best Hollywood movie is 1993’s In the Line of Fire, starring Clint Eastwood as a Secret Service agent protecting the President of the United States from John Malkovich’s assassins, nearly ten appeared a year later.

In it, Petersen marshalled his substantial skill for constructing more open-air suspense, but just as tense thriller that ran across the rooftops past the Washington, D.C. monuments.

Looking for a director for the film, Eastwood thought of Petersen, who he had spoken to at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dinner party several years earlier.

Eastwood met Petersen, checked his work, and gave him the job. In The Line Of Fire was a huge hit, grossing him $177 million worldwide and earning him three Oscar nominations.

“Sometimes it’s a seven-year cycle. You look at other directors. They don’t always have great success. Until The Neverending Story, my career was one success after another.” , Petersen told the Associated Press in 1993.

“Then I entered a stormy international scene. I needed time to get the feel of this piece. It’s not Germany anymore.”

Petersen viewed the political thriller, which cast the brave Eastwood as a devoted defender of an exhausted but less honorable president, as an indictment of Washington.

“When John’s character says, ‘Nothing they told me was true and there’s nothing left to fight for,’ I think his words resonate with a lot of people. I will,” Petersen told the Los Angeles Times.

“The film is rooted in a deep pessimism about what has happened to this country over the last 30 years.

After the outbreak, along with Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and Morgan Freeman, Petersen returned to the presidency in 1997’s Air Force One. Harrison Ford starred as a president forced to fight the terrorists who hijacked Air Force One.

Air Force One, which grossed $315 million worldwide, was also a hit, but Petersen made it even bigger with Perfect Storm, the true story of a 2000s Massachusetts fishing boat lost at sea. I asked for something

The cast included George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, but its main draw was the computer-generated 100-foot wave. On a $120 million budget, The Perfect Storm earned his $328.7 million.

Growing up on Germany’s north coast, the sea has long been a fascination for Peterson.

“The power of water is incredible,” Petersen said in a 2009 interview. “As a child, I was always impressed by its strength. Within hours, it reversed and all the damage it could do when it crashed against the shore.”

Petersen’s “The Perfect Storm” was followed by the epic “Troy”, based on Homer’s “Iliad”, which was not well received by critics, but still grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. I put it out.

The big-budget Poseidon, a big-budget Warner Bros. failure, was Petersen’s last Hollywood film. His last film was 2016’s For Against the Bank, a German remake of Petersen’s own 1976 German television film.

Petersen was first married to German actress Ursula Sieg. When they divorced in 1978, he married German script supervisor and assistant director Maria Antoinette Vogel.

He is survived by Vogel, his son Daniel Petersen, and two grandchildren.

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