The German filmmaker and photographer took his own life on Saturday (07May11) at his chalet in Gstaad, his son Rolf has confirmed. Reports suggest he shot himself.
Sachs, the grandson of automobile mogul Wilhelm von Opel, was a trained mathematician and economist but found fame in the 1960s after turning his attention to making documentaries.
A famed playboy during his youth, Sachs fell in love with French actress Bardot after meeting her in 1966 and famously commissioned a helicopter to fly over her home in Saint-Tropez and shower it with hundreds of red roses.
They wed weeks later in Las Vegas; the marriage ended in divorce in 1969.
Bardot, who has since dedicated her life to fighting for animal rights, remained close to her third husband after their break-up and was informed of Sachs’ death this weekend (07-08May11).
A representative for Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals tells the AFP, “We called Gunter Sachs’ private secretary who confirmed the suicide to us, but we have no details on the circumstances.”
A source adds, “(Bardot) has been informed and is devastated. She had kept close ties with Gunter Sachs, who was a guest when we celebrated 20 years of the foundation.”
Bardot was Sachs’ second wife. He went on to wed Mirja Larsson within months of his split from the French icon.