Sylvia Kristel, star of Emmanuelle, dies
Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who starred in the 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle, has died aged 60.
"She died during the night during her sleep," her agent, Marieke Verharen, told the AFP news agency.
The actress, who had cancer, was admitted to hospital in July after suffering a stroke.
Emmanuelle, which told the story of a sexually promiscuous housewife, spawned numerous sequels and played in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees for 11 years.
Released in 1974, the soft-focus French film was one of the first erotic movies to be shown in mainstream cinemas.
Kristel herself attributed its success to the changing censorship laws of the era.
"In a lot of countries the light went on, and that contributed very much to the success," she said.
In the UK, however, the film was eventually given the restricted X-rating, having suffered heavy cuts. The unedited version did not appear in the country until 2007.
Kristel went on to star in several Emmanuelle sequels, as well as more mainstream films - many of which, like Lady Chatterley's Lover and Mata Hari, played on her reputation as an erotic film star.
Born in Utrecht, Holland, in 1952, Kristel grew up with her younger sister Marianne in Room 21 of The Commerce Hotel, which her parents owned.
Convent-educated, she fled her strict Calvinist upbringing for Amsterdam as a teenager, where she worked as a secretary and a waitress before becoming a model.
Aged 21, she won two beauty competitions - Miss TV Holland and Miss TV Europe - and, shortly afterwards, was encouraged to pursue acting by her boyfriend, Dutch author Hugo Claus.
She had already appeared nude in the film Because of the Cats, when she stumbled into the audition for Emmanuelle, having been sent to a casting call for a soap powder commercial next door.
Speaking to The Evening Standard in 1994, she said she had no problem convincing director Just Jaeckin of her suitability for the part.
"He asked me to take my dress off," she said. "Luckily it was an easy dress to take off.
"It had spaghetti straps which I just slipped over my shoulders and it just fell off. I carried on talking and smoking in the nude. I was not inhibited at all. I'd done nude modelling and he thought I was very graceful."
Set in Thailand, the film was based on the erotic novel by Emmanuelle Arsan. It told the story of a bored wife, who had followed her diplomat husband to Asia, and filled her time with romantic trysts.
On release, Emmanuelle inevitably caused controversy. It was banned in Paris, where it was supposed to have its premiere, for six months. But it also made Kristel a star.
She spent seven years in Hollywood, appearing in such films as The Concorde: Airport '79, and Private Lessons.
But the actress, whose parents were both alcoholics, soon found herself addicted to drink and drugs.
"I sometimes needed a shot before doing certain scenes," she said. "It definitely comforted me and gave me courage. But then it turned out that I almost couldn't start a day without a drink."
By this time she had left Claus, with whom she had a son, for British actor Ian McShane. Their relationship was volatile. In her autobiography, she described it as "awful - he was witty and charming but we were too much alike".
Further relationships followed. She wed American millionaire Alan Turner, who ended their marriage after five months, telling Kristel he had made a terrible mistake.
Her second husband, would-be director Philippe Blot, persuaded her to bankroll his films. They were disastrously received.
Kristel said she left the marriage with $400 (£247) to her name.
"If I'd known then what I know now, I probably wouldn't have gone ahead with any of the relationships I was involved in, with the exception of Hugo," she told the Daily Mail in 1993.
She stopped appearing nude on screen in the 1980s because her son, Arthur, was being "teased at school", but returned to the Emmanuelle series in 1994, in a direct-to-video sequel where she appeared, fully-clothed, reminiscing about the exploits of her younger alter-ego.
After leaving America, she retreated to the South of France to paint, specialising in female portraits and pictures of roses. She was diagnosed with both throat and lung cancer in the early 2000s and fought the disease over the last decade.
Her agent declined to say whether Kristel died at home or at hospital, but said her funeral would be private.
- I am truly sad. Sylvia brings me back to sweet memories of cinema-going, back when films like the one that made her an international sensation were truly risque. When I was a child, my mother took me to a screening of (either THE WIZARD OF OZ or SNOW WHITE - can't remember which one at this point) but what I do remember was that the following week's attraction was going to be the debut of EMMANUELLE and, believe it or not, they PLAYED THE TRAILER for the film before the main attraction, in a theatre packed with children! Actually this trailer, which can be seen on YouTube, consisted of stills from the movie and just one blink-and-you'll-miss it instance of a nipple showing. But I remember the sensual tone of the trailer and the X-rating icon at the end of it. My mother tried to cover my eyes but realized the preview was somewhat safe & most of the kids in the theatre were too young to really "get it".
Sylvia Kristel, R.I.P. You will always live in the movies.
- Bond Meets Black Emmanuelle!
- She died in her sleep - always the lady.
- To include or not to include, that is the question.
- [quote]Convent-educated, she fled her strict Calvinist upbringing...
Presbyterians have convents???
- I remember that sexy poster of her lips, with the line underneath: "X was never like this..."
- Presbyterian = Church of Scotland. Sylvia was Dutch. The Calvinist church in the Netherlands is the Dutch Reformed Church.
- ^ Please disregard R8. Not only is the Dutch Reformed Church no longer a thing (it's merged with other Protestant denominations in the Netherlands), but it appears to be technically proper to refer to what was the Reformed Church as "Presbyterian."
Also, I totally missed your point about the convent.
- So the Dutch Reformed Church has convents??
- Just how many actresses portrayed Emmanuelle?
- RIP, Sylvia. I always liked her. Plus, she appears in one of my all-time favorite camp films "The Concorde: Airport '79"!!!
- I assumed the article was referring to Calvinist in the broader cultural sense, the way people refer to America as "Puritan" without regard to the actual Puritan religious movement, not that she was educated at a Calvinist convent. It was an infelicitous juxtaposition in the sentence.
Anyway!: seeing the Emmanuelle movies (and others in that genre such as "Lady Chatterly's Lover" and "Young Lady Chatterly" [!!] on Cinemax provided an outlet for my young adolescent libido at a time when erotica wasn't nearly so easy to find. Kids have it good today.
- Probably the most notable besides Sylvia Kristel is Laura Gemser.
- I only saw her in "Lady Chatterley's Lover" but thought she was incredibly appealing. The lover, Nicholas Clay, is dead now too. I guess Shane Briant, the oldest of the three, who played her husband Clifford, is the only one still standing (and in them film, was paralyzed and couldn't stand.)
- She was fabulous and beautiful, but she had stomach cancer. Women will start relating stomach cancer with sucking dick and pretty soon only the brave gays will be the ones performing blow jobs.
- I loved her. She was sensuous and realistic. And I'm shocked that we're seeing her name among celebrities who have died during this year. The cancer explains it. And I'm sorry it happened.
- She wasn't a porn actress, r16.
- The impact of her erotic films on the movie industry is undeniable but Sylvia was a terrible actress.
The second Emmanuelle film is better than the first.
- I always mixed her up with Marilyn Chambers. They're both gone now. End of an era.
- According to Wikipedia, she had throat and liver cancer.
- I too like Emmanuelle II: The Joys of a Woman, she was better in this. Of course, her character had transitioned from a girl (Part I) into a woman enjoying her sexuality. The third Emmanuelle had come full circle, I suppose where the character had matured into monogamy. It was a very balanced trilogy. Yep, she was sort of revolutionary with the film. She was a sexual object but feminists enjoyed the film because a woman was in control of her sexuality. I was born in the 80s but remember watching it late at night as a child and not being so hung up about sex.
- May she rest in peace.
- She was always my biggest competion!
- May he rest in peace.
- I mainly remember her from [italic]Airport '79: The Concorde,[/italic] co-starring the most WTF cast ever assembled for a disaster flick, including Charo, Alain Delon, Sybil Danning, Jimmie Walker, Mercedes McCambridge, Avery Schreiber, and Martha Raye.
- Don't forget John Davidson and Robert Wagner.
Just about the most deliriously bad major studio movie.
- Is this movie online anywhere for free?
- This is devastating.
- So many of these "erotic" actresses die relatively young: Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers, Marie Schneider, Sylvia Kristel. Their lives just seem to give out for some reason.
- Seems like she was a heavy smoker. I've read other articles over the years about her battling with cancer.
- She was very lucky in getting to star with Nicholas Clay in 'Lady Chatterlay's Lover' in the early 80's film version. Lots of naked scenes with him and his big ass.
- Wasn't she in "Private Lessons" with Howard Hessman and Eric Brown from "Mama's Family"?
- Aww, sad - I remember her from a long time ago, she was pretty and I loved her name.
- What a mess she was. Very surprised she lived as long as she did.
- Yes, r36.
- According to this obituary, her childhood damaged her pretty badly.
- Damn, r38.
- There's an extended scene in "Lady Chatterlay's Lover" of Sylvia Kristel watching Nicholas Clay wash his ass & cock.