German director Dieter Wedel has died “after a long serious illness,” his lawyers confirmed in Munich on Wednesday.
According to a court in Munich, where a criminal case against Wedel on charges of rape was pending, he died in a Hamburg hospital on July 13 at the age of 82. The court said the case would now be closed.
The public prosecutor’s office indicted Wedel in March of last year on charges dating back to 1996. Actress Jany Tempel claims Wedel raped her in a luxury Munich hotel. Wedel denied this.
Her lawyer, Alexander Stevens, told dpa his client offered her condolences to Wedel’s relatives, but cited her as saying she hoped Wedel’s death would prompt more women to come forward and “tell their story.”
Tempel recently went on a hunger strike to protest the fact that the court was taking so long to decide whether the trial would go ahead.
The accusations against Wedel emerged at the beginning of 2018. Three actresses including Tempel accused him of sexually harassing them in the 1990s.
Wedel was one of Germany’s most successful television directors. His mini-series include “Der große Bellheim” (1993), “Der Schattenmann” (1996), “Der König von St. Pauli” (1998) and “Die Affäre Semmeling” (2002).
Wedel’s private life was turbulent. He has six children by six women, a son with famed German actress Hannelore Elsner, who died in 2019.