Lina Wertmüller: First woman director to get Oscar nomination dies

Image copyright Steven Klein Image caption Lina Wertmüller’s film Equals is the first and only independent production for Women at the Oscars

Lina Wertmüller, the first woman to be nominated for an Oscar for a director, has died.

The German-born director made The Man with the Golden Arm and took the title role in The Miracle Worker in 1965.

Wertmüller, 81, passed away of natural causes in Innsbruck, Austria, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Equals, her 2017 film, is the first and only independent production for the Women at the Oscars board, which Wertmüller helped found.

The Oscar nomination came after “two generations of women I used to know” insisted she had already been “missed too much”, she said.

One of the women, Alice Lowe, encouraged Wertmüller to give her a go in future.

“She has been an inspiration to women and men around the world, and I feel she has been overlooked a lot,” Lowe said last year.

Image copyright Steven Klein Image caption Wertmüller’s film The Miracle Worker starred Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft

Martha Coolidge, the president of the Women at the Oscars board, said Wertmüller was “a truly great director who dedicated herself to making movies”.

“If you love art and movies you owe it to yourself to see what she had to offer,” she added.

Wertmüller won an Oscar for her first feature-length film, The Man with the Golden Arm, in 1964.

It starred Shelly Duvall, sister of the late director Dennis, and Warren Beatty.

The Miracle Worker, a remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1962 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starred Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft.

Image copyright Steven Klein Image caption Wertmüller took the title role in The Miracle Worker, which won her an Oscar for best director in 1965

In 1985, Wertmüller won the Swedish Academy Prize, Sweden’s equivalent of the Academy Award, for Fanny & Alexander.

She was hailed as one of the country’s greatest female film directors and again showed another side with 1999’s Miss 1947.

Wertmüller was also in a relationship with Ingmar Bergman, of The Seventh Seal fame, and the pair married in 1963. They separated in 1985.

Her love life provided material for her most famous work, 1982’s Fanny & Alexander, in which she has a main role.

Wertmüller is survived by a son, daughter and nine grandchildren.

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