German movie producer, director and screenplay writer Bernd Eichinger, who produced well-known films "The Neverending Story" and "Downfall," has died. He was 61. Film production firm Constantin Film AG said in a statement Tuesday that Eichinger suffered a deadly heart attack Monday night during a dinner with family and friends in Los Angeles.
One of Eichinger's recent successful productions was "Downfall," for which he also wrote the screenplay. The movie depicts the last days of Nazi Germany in Adolf Hitler's bunker and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.
Eichinger was a major Constantin shareholder and one of the firm's leading executives. Bernd was a producer on the highly successful western comedy "The Shoe of Manitu" (2001) starring Michael Herbig and Christian Tramitz. He also produced "The Name of the Rose" and "The House of the Spirits."
Though there had been rumors Eichinger might be in poor health after he failed to attend the Bavarian Film Awards earlier this year, his death comes a shock. Eichinger is survived by his wife Katja, a film journalist and daughter Nina, a well-known TV personality and jury member on the German version of American Idol.