|Died||12 April 2017 (aged 81)|
|Organization||American Society of Cinematographers|
|Known for||Broadcast News|
The Age of Innocence
(m. 1958; died 2006)
|Children||2, including Florian Ballhaus|
|Relatives||Carl Balhaus (uncle)|
Michael Ballhaus, A.S.C. (5 August 1935 – 12 April 2017) was a German cinematographer who collaborated with directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, James L. Brooks, and Wolfgang Petersen. He was a member of both the Academy of Arts, Berlin, and the American Society of Cinematographers.
Ballhaus was born in Berlin as the son of German actors Lena Hutter and Oskar Ballhaus. His uncle was actor and director Carl Ballhaus. Ballhaus was influenced by family friend Max Ophüls, and appeared as an extra in Ophüls' last film Lola Montès (1955).
Ballhaus came to prominence with his work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder beginning with Whity (1971), in addition to The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Chinese Roulette (1976) and The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978). In 1990, he was the head of the jury at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival.
After settling in the United States, he worked on many American films, such as Baby It's You (1983) for John Sayles; Old Enough (1984) for Marisa Silver; Under the Cherry Moon (1986) for Prince; After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006) for Martin Scorsese; Broadcast News (1987) and I'll Do Anything (1994) for James L. Brooks; The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) for Steve Kloves; Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) for Francis Ford Coppola; Sleepers (1996) for Barry Levinson; and Wild Wild West (1999) for Barry Sonnenfeld. Ballhaus appeared in Rosa von Praunheim's film Fassbinder's Women (2000).
Ballhaus was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Broadcast News, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Gangs of New York, but never won. Despite this, he did win the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Bram Stoker's Dracula; both the Boston Society of Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography for his work on The Fabulous Baker Boys; and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Goodfellas.
His documentary In Berlin, made with Ciro Cappellari, was released in May 2009.
Personal life and death
Ballhaus was married to actress and art director Helga Maria Betten from 1958 until her death in 2006. She appeared in a handful of films, such as those directed by Fassbinder. They had two sons: cinematographer Florian and assistant director Jan Sebastian.
- 2007 Bavarian Film Awards Honorary Award
- Thomas Vorwerk, Das fliegende Auge: Michael Ballhaus im Gespräch mit Tom Tykwer
- A Conversation With Michael Ballhaus, ASC (November 20, 2006) at the Wayback Machine (archive index)
- Michael Ballhaus discusses his connection with the Austrian director in the documentary film Working with Max Ophuls: Lola Montès Revisited (2008).
- "Berlinale: 1990 Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- Fox, Margalit (15 April 2017). "Michael Ballhaus, an Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer, Dies at 81". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- "In Memoriam: Michael Ballhaus, ASC, BVK (1935-2017) – The American Society of Cinematographers (en-US)". theasc.com. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- Filmreife Hochzeit in Zehlendorf!. bild.de, 28 October 2011. Retrieved on 13 March 2012.
- McNary, Dave (12 April 2017). "Michael Ballhaus, 'The Departed' and 'Goodfellas' Cinematographer, Dies at 81". Variety. Retrieved 11 January 2019.