Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer.
In addition to delivering one of the definitive cinematic portrayals of Hitler, Ganz played an angel who gives up immortality to experience earthly pleasures in Wim Wenders’ classic film “Wings of Desire” (1987). He reprised that role in Wenders’ 1993 follow-up, “Faraway, So Close!”
His celestial performance was so memorable that Ganz once recounted how people ascribed special powers to him when they recognized him in public.
“People in planes said: ‘Ah, no need to be afraid, because with you here, nothing can happen. Now we are safe,'” Ganz told the Danish film journal P.O.V. “Or a mother said to her child: ‘Look, there’s your guardian angel.