On October 7, 1985 as 69 year old disabled Leon Klinghoffer sat in his wheelchair aboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship, four Palestinian terrorists shot then threw him overboard while his wife watched in horror. Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, American Jews, had been celebrating their wedding anniversary by taking this cruise.
Four months after Leon Klinghoffer's murder, Marilyn Klinghoffer died of colon cancer.
The hijack was made into a TV movie in 1990, Voyage of Terror - The Achille Lauro Affair starring Burt Lancaster and Eve Marie Saint.
John Adams' second opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, with a libretto by Alice Goodman, opened to great controversy in 1991. The concept for the opera was suggested by director Peter Sellars. The L.A. Opera shared the work's commission but never presented it.\n