Wolfgang Peterson: Das Boot, The Neverending Story and In the Line of Fire filmmaker dies aged 81

Wolfgang Peterson at the premiere of Troy, a film he directed. Credit: PA

Oscar-nominated Das Boot filmmaker Wolfgang Peterson has died at the age of 81.

The German writer-director was perhaps best known for films including Air Force One, In the Line of Fire, The Neverending Story, Troy and The Perfect Storm.

He died following a battle with pancreatic cancer, his representative confirmed on Wednesday.

Petersen began his career in Germany creating the thrillers One of the Other of Us and queer drama Die Konsequenz.

Actor Brad Pitt, left, and German director Wolfgang Petersen appear at the world premiere of the film "Troy" in Berlin. Credit: AP

His move to Hollywood produced acclaimed WWII drama Das Boot in 1982, which portrayed life aboard on a doomed German U-boat.

The film was nominated for six Oscars, including best director and best adapted screenplay for Petersen.

Tributes have been paid to the late filmmaker following the announcement of his death.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote, in a tweet translated from German: “The never-ending story of Wolfgang Petersen has come to an end. Das Boot and many of his films will live on – far beyond Germany. The special merit of a special narrator.”

Das Boot's success led Peterson to become a sought-after action filmmaker, whose hits included the Clint Eastwood assassination thriller In the Line of Fire, which was nominated for three Oscars.

Clintwood Eastwood starring in a Fistful of Dollars 1964 Credit: PA

Peterson's career continued to flourish in the forthcoming years and he went on to direct the fact-based adventure The Perfect Storm, war epic Troy, which starred Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger, and the 2006 remake of Poseidon.Discussing his career with the Associated Press in 1993, Peterson said: “You sometimes have seven-year cycles. You look at other directors; they don’t have the big successes all the time, my career was one success after another."Petersen was born in 1941 in Emden, Germany, and made his directorial debut at Hamburg's Ernst Deutsch Theatre in the 1960s.

Eventually he gravitated towards television, and attended the Film and Television Academy in Berlin. Following his graduation, he produced films for German television.

Wolfgang Petersen, left, poses with Poseidon stars Emmy Rossum, Josh Lucas and Kurt Russell in Tokyo. Credit: AP

Petersen is survived by his wife Maria-Antoinette Borgel, a German script supervisor, and assistant, whom he married in 1978, along with a son, Daniel Petersen, and two grandchildren.

He was previously married to German actress Ursula Sieg.

Hollywood stars paid tribute to the filmmaker, including The Perfect Storm star Diane Lane.

She said: “My heart is sad today, Wolfgang was a big, loving soul. A natural leader via positive encouragement; dare I say, he was a spiritual channel for us".

Doctor Sleep and Midnight Mass director Mike Flanagan said: “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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