Werner Herzog Biography
Born: September 05, 1942
Birth name: Werner H. Stipetic
Date of Birth: September 5, 1942
Werner Herzog was born in Munich and grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria. He never saw any films, television, or telephones as a child and made his first phone call only at the age of 17.
During high school, Herzog worked the nightshift as a welder in a steel factory to produce his first films and made his first short film in 1961 at the age of 19.
Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than forty films, published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas.
Herzog seems to be quite a character, as well. During an interview with BBC journalist Mark Kermode to promote his documentary Grizzly Man (2005), someone began firing at them with an air rifle. Though the interviewer panicked, Herzog calmly said, "Someone is shooting at us." He was then struck by a pellet but insisted on continuing the interview.
He's also known for being the first person on scene when Joaquin Phoenix's car flipped over on a winding canyon road near Herzog's home. Phoenix heard a tapping on his window and a voice said, "Just relax." Phoenix, who couldn't see who it was, replied, "I'm fine. I am relaxed." Herzog replied, "No, you're not," pulled Phoenix from the car, then phoned for an ambulance, leaving shortly before it arrived.
Herzog played a role in the hilarious mockumentary Incident at Loch Ness (2004), as a writer/director trying to capture the elusive monster on film. He also co-wrote with the film's director, Zak Penn.
His awards and accolades are too numerous to mention them all, but he received an Academy Award nomination for Encounters at the End of the World (2007) in the Best Feature Documentary category; a Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for his first feature, Lebenszeichen (1968); Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for Fitzcarraldo (1982); a Directors Guild of America Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for Grizzly Man (2005); and a FIPRESCI Prize at the Venice Film Festival for The Wild Blue Yonder (2005).
Other notable films include Rescue Dawn (2006), starring Christian Bale and Invincible (2001), starring Tim Roth. He also directed Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) and Willem Dafoe in My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2010). In 2010, he interviewed convicted murderer Michael Perry for Into the Abyss (2011), a film that takes a close look at capital punishment and lets viewers make their own conclusions.
Since then, he's helmed several projects including the documentaries Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016) and Into the Inferno (2016), as well as the films Salt and Fire (2017) with Michael Shannon and Queen of the Desert (2017) with Nicole Kidman.
Married three times, Herzog has a son from each of his first two marriages, and a daughter who was born between marriages. He lives in Los Angeles with his third wife, Lena.