'Das Boot,' 'Perfect Storm' director Wolfgang Petersen dies

Wolfgang Petersen died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI
Wolfgang Petersen died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Director Wolfgang Petersen died Tuesday at age 81. His production company confirmed the news to Variety.

Deadline added that Petersen died of pancreatic cancer. He died in his Brentwood, Calif., home in his wife's, Maria Antoinette, arms.


After directing German film and television in the '60s and '70s, Petersen's 1981 film Das Boot brought him international acclaim. The story of a German U-Boat in WWII exists in a theatrical and director's cut, and a further extended TV miniseries version.

Petersen's next German production was the English-language family film The Neverending Story. The tale of a boy reading and interacting with the characters in a storybook brought Petersen to Hollywood.

Hollywood films like Enemy Mine and Shattered followed. Petersen directed Clint Eastwood's first starring role after his Unforgiven Oscar win with In the Line of Fire.

The film showed Eastwood as a Secret Service agent in his '60s. Having failed to stop John F. Kennedy's assassination, the agent gets a chance at redemption when he faces a new assassin (John Malkovich).


Petersen directed the hits Outbreak and Air Force One. The Perfect Storm was a blockbuster of the Summer of 2000, and pioneered visual effects that created the giant wave.

Petersen had another hit with the mythological epic Troy starring Brad Pitt as Achilles. Poseidon, a remake of The Poseidon Adventure, was his last Hollywood movie.

Petersen's last film was the 2016 German film Vier Gegen die Bank, or Four Against the Bank. It was his first German-language film since Das Boot.

Notable Deaths of 2022

Anita Pointer
Anita Pointer of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters stands with Andy Madadian (C) and La Toya Jackson (L) as Madadian is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020. Pointer, who performed alongside her sisters June and Ruth, died at the age of 74 on December 31 following a battle with cancer. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines