Dave McNary reports: German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who shot Martin Scorsese’s best picture winner “The Departed” and helped numerous Scorsese films achieve their singular visuals, has died at his Berlin apartment after a short illness. He was 81.
Ballhaus was nominated three times for the Academy Award for cinematography — in 1987 for “Broadcast News,” in 1989 for “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and in 2002 for Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York.” His publicist and the American Society of Cinematographers confirmed his death.
His other credits included five other films for Scorsese — “After Hours,” “The Color of Money,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “The Age of Innocence,” and “Goodfellas,” — along with Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” ”Working Girl,” “Postcards from the Edge,” “Primary Colors,” “What about Bob?” and “Quiz Show.”
Scorsese released a statement reading, “For over 20 years, Michael Ballhaus and I had a real creative partnership, and a very close and enduring friendship. By the time we met, he had already made film history with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and I revered him. He was a lovely human being, and he always had a warm smile for even the toughest situations—anyone who knew him will remember his smile. We started working together in the 80s, during a low ebb in my career. And it was Michael who really gave me back my sense of excitement in making movies. For him, nothing was impossible. … (read more)