Michael Ballhaus, the revered cinematographer who brought his distinct visual sense to the works of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, has died at 81. The German director of photography earned three Academy Award nominations throughout his career, which spanned more than half a century. Last year he was recognized with a Golden Bear for lifetime achievement at the Berlin Film Festival.
Among his best-known films were Fassbinder’s “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News” (which earned him his first Oscar nod) and “The Departed,” one of several collaborations with Scorsese — Ballhaus also lensed “After Hours,” “The Last Temptations of Christ,” “Goodfellas” and “The Age of Innocence.” He began his career in Germany, first coming to attention for the many films he made with Fassbinder, before making his way to Hollywood.
Once there, he also worked with Mike Nichols (“Working Girl,” “Postcards From the Edge”), Robert Redford (“Quiz Show”) and Barry Levinson (“Sleepers”), among many others. Ballhaus was born in Berlin on August 5, 1935. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed.