BERLIN – German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who counted “Goodfellas,” “Gangs of New York” and “The Departed” among the blockbuster movies he filmed, died overnight at his home in Berlin, his publisher said on Wednesday. He was 81.
In a career that spanned over four decades, Ballhaus worked with Hollywood directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Robert Redford. He was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, though he never won.
Ballhaus started out as a cameraman with German broadcaster Suedwestfunk and then worked in the 1960s with German film directors including Rainer Werner Fassbinder before moving to the United States.
Last year, Ballhaus was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear award at the Berlinale film festival for his life’s work.
In 2014, he published an autobiography, “Images in My Head,” which begins: “These are the memories of a man who has lived and worked with his eyes.”
“Michael Ballhaus was far more than a cameraman,” his publisher, Thomas Rathnow, said in a statement. “He was an artist who created unforgettable pictures in numerous films and in collaboration with the best directors of our time.”
“And he was a gentleman, a man with style and a sense of irony,” Rathnow added. “We will miss him very much.”
Ballhaus, who died after a short illness, was predeceased by his first wife. He is survived by his second wife, Sherry Hormann, an American film director, and two sons.