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Art is universal. It is why a man who was born in Munich can be an icon in Hollywood, an American film industry. That is the story of the legacy of Werner Herzog. The German film director is considered one of the greatest living directors on the planet, not just in terms of their body of work but their intellectual contributions to the process of filmmaking.
Film directing is like being the conductor of an orchestra, constructing different instruments to work together and produce a singular effect on the viewer. With many directors working today and the frequency at which new projects are expected to be released, patiently building a legacy can be a bit of a challenge. But that is not a problem Werner Herzog has. He has built a legacy that comprises films, both short and long, documentaries, opera and theatre in a career that has lasted 56 years so far. Here are a few interesting facts to learn about the legendary director.
Werner Herzog’s Biography
Before diving into some of the interesting facts about the director, let’s get familiar with the director. Herzog is a German-born son of Elizabeth Stipetic and Dietrich Herzog. He was born on September 5, 1942, in Munich and grew up in Sachrang, a Bavarian village for 12 years as a result of World War II.
During a difficult start to his life which included his father abandoning him and his mother, he decided to become a filmmaker after he was introduced to the existence of cinema in Sachrang by a projectionist. Werner’s early life started a bit as wanderer/adventurer, going on long journeys. He began to learn the art of filmmaking from an encyclopedia and stole his first camera, a 35mm camera.
He moved to America after he secured a scholarship at the Duquesne University. He never stuck around long enough at Duquesne, leaving to earn money by working on the preproduction of a documentary for NASA. He made his first film in 1962, a short film called Herakles at the age of 19 and has since made over 60 films and documentaries. He also has over 12 published books to his name and has directed a lot of operas.
In the 2009 edition of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, Werner was named. Among several awards and nominations, he has a star on the Boulevard der Stars in Berlin. He has been married three times and he has three children.
Celebrity Profile: 5 Facts About Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog has lived a full and most certainly eventful life. From fleeing to Mexico to avoid US Immigration to growing up to the age of 18 without listening to music, his life has been full of interesting tidbits. Here are five of them.
1. He worked as a welder to fund his first films.
For a man like Werner, who was committed to the becoming a filmmaker, the barrage of no he got from production companies did not quench his desire to make films, not for a man whose first camera was stolen from Munich Film School. He went to work, taking on night shifts as a welder in a steel factory to earn money for his projects. He was 18 at the time and was a senior in high school.
2. He has made a film on every continent.
Werner Herzog perchance to film on location, regardless of wherever the story is had made him the only feature film director to have made a film on all continents. It is not a surprising feat for a man who once walked on foot from Munich to Paris, a total distance of 500 miles. He also once traveled to the Congo after high school.
3. He has attended two universities. Never graduated.
Before he was offered a scholarship by Duquesne University to study theatre and dropped out, he had enrolled to study history and literature at Munich University. He also never completed the program. He is, however, a vastly read man who speaks four languages – English, German, Spanish, French. He was once very fluent in Greek.
4. He was promised to eat his shoe….and he did.
Herzog once made a bet with Errol Morris, an American film director that he would eat his shoe if Errol completed a film about pet cemeteries he was working on. Errol, went on to complete the film and in 1978, Herzog publicly cooked his shoe and ate it. While it might seem mad, Herzog spoke of the bet as his effort to encourage Errol and anyone else to bring whatever project they had in mind to fruition.
5. He has his own film school
As a result of being dissatisfied by the way film schools are run, Werner decided to create his own. He founded his school, Rogue Film School in 2009 and it features courses like – The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully, Travelling on foot, the creation of your own shooting permits.