Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Gabriel Axel | Film director, 95

Gabriel Axel, 95, the first Dane to win an Oscar for best foreign film - with Babette's Feast, which he directed - died Sunday. His daughter Karin Moerch said in a statement that he died "quietly and peacefully after a long and eventful life."

Mr. Axel, who was born in Denmark's second city, Aarhus, divided his time between his homeland and France. He grew up in Paris, where his father owned a factory, and at age 18 he returned to Denmark to work as a furniture maker. But the theater drew him, and he enrolled in the Danish Royal Theater Actors' School, graduating in 1945.

Mr. Axel directed several large projects for French television, then returned home to produce series for Denmark's public broadcaster and direct several films in the 1950s and 1960s. He also acted in films.

His international breakthrough came in 1987 with Babette's Feast, based on a novel by Danish writer Karen Blixen, about a 19th-century Parisian woman who finds shelter in a remote Danish village, living with two sisters who maintain a strict religious philosophy. - AP

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