Academy Award-nominated director Wolfgang Petersen — who rose to fame with his German-language film “Das Boot” — has died. He was 81.
Petersen died of pancreatic cancer in the arms of his wife of 50 years, Maria Antoinette, on Friday at his home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, a spokesperson for the Petersen family, Michelle Bega, told The Post.
Born in Emden, Germany, Petersen began his directing career in the 1960s but gained popularity in 1981 with “Das Boot,” a World War II film that earned six Oscar nominations with two specifically for Petersen for directing and screenwriting.
He would go on to make numerous action-thrillers, including “Enemy Mine,” “Shattered,” “Outbreak,” “Poseidon” and “Troy,” and he directed big-name stars such as Clint Eastwood in 1993’s “In the Line of Fire,” Harrison Ford in “Air Force One” (1997) and George Clooney in 2000’s “The Perfect Storm.” Other A-Listers with whom he worked included Brad Pitt, Renee Russo, Glenn Close, Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman.
Petersen credited the 1952 gunslinging Western “High Noon” — as well as its star, screen legend Gary Cooper — as influential on his career choice. “I think ‘High Noon’ made me want to be a director,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011.
In addition to his wife, Petersen is survived by his son Daniel and his wife Berit, as well as two grandchildren, Maja and Julien.
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