Joseph Vilsmaier, German Director and Cinematographer of ‘Stalingrad,’ Dies at 81

Filmmaker was also known for “The Harmonists,” “Brother of Sleep” and “Marlene”

Joseph Vilsmaier, a German director and cinematographer behind the acclaimed 1993 World War II drama “Stalingrad,” died on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. He was 81.

His agent confirmed to the AP that Vilsmaier died “peacefully” at his home in Bavaria on Tuesday.

Vilsmaier’s film “Stalingrad” about a group of German soldiers fighting in the battle of Stalingrad in Soviet Russia won three Bavarian Film Awards in 1993, including one for Best Production and one for Vilsmaier’s cinematography.

Vilsmaier spent nine years working in a music conservatory as a runner and technician before moving up in the ranks and eventually landing a job as a camera operator for German television.

His first film, 1989’s “Autumn Milk,” starred his wife Dana Vávrová and was a box office success in the country. That film’s success was later matched by 1997’s “The Harmonists,” about the rise and fall of the Comedian Harmonists, Germany’s most famous a capella group in the 1930s. His 1995 film “Brother of Sleep” was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.

Vilsmaier’s last film is set to be released later this year, “Der Boandlkramer und die ewige Liebe,” a comedy which he completed before his death.

He is survived by his three daughters, Janina, Theresa and Josephina.