Swiss Film Director Daniel Schmid Dies

Daniel Schmid, one of Switzerland's best-known film and opera directors, has died after a battle with cancer, a producer said Sunday. He was 64.

Schmid died Saturday night in his hometown of Flims in eastern Switzerland, said Marcel Hoehn, producer of Schmid's best known film "Il Bacio di Tosca" (1984), or "Tosca's Kiss."

Schmid studied filmmaking at Berlin's German Film and Television Academy, and began directing his own television films in 1970.

His first cinematic directorship came with the experimental film "Heute Nacht oder nie" (1972), also known as "Tonight or Never", about servants and masters in an old castle who switch roles for one night every year.

Schmid also directed documentaries, including "Tosca's Kiss," about elderly opera singers who live together in a special retirement home for musicians and remember their lives and careers.

He also appeared in front of the camera in a number of films, including alongside Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz as the character Samuel Ingraham in "Der Amerikanische Freund" (1977), or "The American Friend."

Away from the screen, Schmid directed a number of operas at the Grand Theatre in Geneva and Zurich's Opernhaus.

In 1999, Schmid received a lifetime achievement award at the Locarno International Film Festival. Organizers for this year's festival, which is currently under way, planned to show "Tosca's Kiss" in the grand square of this southern Swiss town Sunday evening as a tribute to Schmid.