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Michael Ballhaus

  • Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
  • Birthday: August 05
Date of passing: 
April 12, 2017

Michael Ballhaus was a German cinematographer and director best known for his trademark panoramic tracking shots and for lensing Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.

Prior to working in the U.S., Ballhaus was a frequent collaborator with German writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, for whom he shot such films as Beware of a Holy Whore, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Fox and His Friends, Mother Küsters Goes to HeavenSatan's Brew and The Marriage of Maria Braun.

His other Hollywood credits included Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance; Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One; and Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, Gangs of New York and The Departed.

Additionally, Ballhaus shot the telefilm version of Death of a Salesman, starring Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid and John Malkovich; and Baja Oklahoma, starring Lesley Ann Warren.

Ballhaus was nominated for three Oscars over the course of his career, for his work on Gangs of New York, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Broadcast News.

Michael Ballhaus was a German cinematographer and director best known for his trademark panoramic tracking shots and for lensing Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.

Prior to working in the U.S., Ballhaus was a frequent collaborator with German writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, for whom he shot such films as Beware of a Holy Whore, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Fox and His Friends, Mother Küsters Goes to HeavenSatan's Brew and The Marriage of Maria Braun.

His other Hollywood credits included Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance; Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One; and Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, Gangs of New York and The Departed.

Additionally, Ballhaus shot the telefilm version of Death of a Salesman, starring Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid and John Malkovich; and Baja Oklahoma, starring Lesley Ann Warren.

Ballhaus was nominated for three Oscars over the course of his career, for his work on Gangs of New York, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Broadcast News.

In 2014, he published his autobiography, Images in My Head: The Story of My Life.

Ballhaus died April 12, 2017, in Berlin, Germany. He was 81.

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Michael Ballhaus

Michael Ballhaus

Photo credit: 
Boris Roessler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images