"Name of the Rose" director Eichinger dies at 61

Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:13pm EST
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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - German filmmaker Bernd Eichinger, whose works include hits such like "Resident Evil" and "The Name of the Rose" and groundbreaking dramas about drug addiction and Hitler, has died, his production company said on Tuesday.

Eichinger, 61, died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, where he had his home, during dinner with family and friends, his company Constantin Media said in a statement.

His production credits ranged from the gritty "Christiane F." in 1982, the true story of a teenage drug addict in Berlin, to the fantasy "The Neverending Story" and the medieval mystery "The Name of the Rose" based on a novel by Umberto Eco and starring Sean Connery.

His disturbing "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" in 2006, from a Patrick Sueskind novel, tells the story of a young man with a super sense of smell who murders as he tries to make the ultimate scent.

As a screenwriter, Eichinger received an Oscar nomination for the 2004 film "Downfall," a depiction of Adolf Hitler's final days in the bunker in Berlin.

The film, which he also produced, was credited with breaking a post-war a taboo in Germany about actors portraying Hitler as a human being. German movies had previously tended to stick to documentary footage of the Nazi dictatore.

Eichinger tackled the subject of the left-wing Red Army Faction guerrillas in his movie "The Baader-Meinhof Complex."

(Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

<p>German producer Bernd Eichinger addresses the audience after receiving a lifetime achievement award during the German Film Prize (Lola) ceremony in Berlin April 23, 2010. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>