By Rhett Bartlett with the Hollywood Reporter
Siegfried Rauch, the German actor who portrayed Steve McQueen’s ruthless racing rival Erich Stahler in the 1971 classic film Le Mans, has died. He was 85.
Rauch died Sunday night as a result of a fall in his hometown of Untersochering, Bavaria, his agency announced.
Rauch also appeared in the war films Patton (1970), directed by Franklin J. Schaffner; John Sturges’ The Eagle Has Landed (1976); George P. Cosmatos’ Escape to Athena (1979); and Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One (1980).
Le Mans, directed by Lee H. Katzin, tells the story of the Porsche and Ferrari rivalry through the eyes of two drivers — Michael Delaney (Steve McQueen) and Stahler. It was filmed on location at the Le Mans circuit in France and incorporated incredible footage from the actual 24-hour endurance event in 1970.
Off-camera, McQueen and Rauch became lifelong friends, with the American actor becoming the godfather to Rauch’s son Benedikt.