An art collector as well as a writer, Buchheim wrote 30 books during his 65-year career, many of them about art and artists, Deutsche Welle said Friday.
But it was the film of his 1975 novel about life in a wartime German U-boat that made Buchheim -- a war reporter on a U-boat -- famous. The 1981 movie "Das Boot," directed by Wolfgang Petersen, described the mission of the U-96, its attacks on Allied ships and the fear of its crew as they came under attack.
Buchheim also created the Fantasy Museum at Starnsberg in southern Germany. The museum contains a collection of Expressionist paintings and graphics, as well as curiosities ranging from Thai shadow puppets to carousel animals.
Buchheim died Thursday.