The German actor Otto Sander has died at the age of 72, after a long bout with cancer. Renowned for his work on the Berlin stage, both before and after German reunification, Sander was best known to international audiences for his work in two big ‘80s German exports: Wolfgang Peterson’s Das Boot (1981), in which he had a famous drunk scene in a nightclub, and Wim Wenders’ Wings Of Desire (1988), as the angel Cassiel, gliding among the earthbound mortals and eavesdropping on their internal monologues, wearing a look of rueful sympathy. He reprised the role of Cassiel in Wenders’ 1993 film, Faraway, So Close!
Sander began working in TV and film in the 1970s, often alongside his Wings Of Desire co-star Bruno Ganz, including starring in TV productions of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and Heinrich Von Kleist’s The Prince Of Homburg, and Eric Rohmer’s 1976 movie of Von Kleist’s The Marquis Of O. His other notable film credits include Volker Schlondorff’s The Tin Drum (1979); Andrzej Wajda’s A Love In Germany (1983); Margarethe Von Trotta’s Rosa Luxemburg (1986), as the Socialist leader Karl Liebknecht; Wahnfried (1986), in which he played the composer Richard Wagner; and The Comedian Harmonists (1997).