Sylvia Maria Kristel
28 September 1952 – 17 October 2012
The Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, best known for her roles in soft-porn films in the 1970s particularly the French hit “Emmanuelle”, has died in Amsterdam at the age of 60.
Over a 30-year career she starred in more than 50 international feature films. But she shot to fame with “Emmanuelle” in 1974, an erotic story set in Bangkok about a bored housewife, her husband, and their many companions.
The movie was followed by work with directors including Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Chabrol and Roger Vadim. Later films included “The Nude Bomb” (1980) and “Private Lessons” (1981). She also starred in a 1981 film version of the D.H. Lawrence novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.
“She was known for her erotic work, but she could do a lot more than that,” said Marieke Verharen, her agent. “She is the most famous Dutch actress ever.”
Before falling ill recently, she had been preparing for a role in an Amsterdam theatre production of the Tim Firth play “Calendar Girls”. Her last film role was in a 2010 Italian television production about a trio of Dutch female singers who were popular in inter-war Italy.
Sylvia Maria Kristel was a Dutch actress who performed in over 50 movies but she always will be remember for playing the lead character in four of the seven “Emmanuelle” films.
Sylvia was born in Utrecht, Netherlands, the elder daughter of an innkeeper, Jean-Nicholas Kristel, and his wife. In her 2006 autobiography “Nue”, she claims to have been sexually abused by an elderly guest at the hotel at the age of nine, an event which she has refused to discuss in detail. Her parents divorced when she was 14 years old after her father left home for another woman.
She began modeling when she was 17. She entered the Miss TV Europe contest in 1973 and won. Multilingual, she spoke Dutch, English, French, German and Italian. She gained international attention in 1974 for playing the title character in the softcore film “Emmanuelle” which remains one of the most successful French films ever produced.
After the success of “Emmanuelle”, she often played roles that capitalised on that sexually provocative image, most notably starring in an adaptation of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (1981), and a nudity-filled biopic of the World War I spy in “Mata Hari”.
Her Emmanuelle image followed her to the United States, where she played Nicole Mallow, a maid who seduces a teenage boy, in the 1981 sex comedy “Private Lessons”. Another mainstream American film appearance was a brief comic turn in the Get Smart revival film “The Nude Bomb” in 1980.
In September 2006 Kristel’s autobiography “Nue” (Nude) was published in France. It was translated into English as “Undressing Emmanuelle: A Memoir”, in which she told of a turbulent personal life blighted by addictions to drugs, alcohol, and her quest for a father figure, which resulted in some harmful relationships with older men. The book received some positive reviews.
A heavy smoker of unfiltered cigarettes from the age of 11, Kristel was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001 and underwent three courses of chemotherapy, and surgery after it spread to her lung. On 12 June 2012, she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in a life-threatening condition. She died in her sleep, aged 60, on 17 October 2012, from esophageal and lung cancer. She was survived by her son Arhtur, from her relationship with the Belgian novelist Hugo Claus, and her younger sister.
The Swing Girls (2010) (TV)
Two Sunny Days (2010)
Sexy Boys (2001)
De vriendschap (2001)
Vergeef me (2001)
Die Unbesiegbaren (2000) (TV)
Lijmen/Het Been (2000)
An Amsterdam Tale (1999)
Film 1 (1999)
Harry Rents a Room (1999)
Gaston’s War (1997)
Die Sexfalle (1997) (TV)
“Onderweg naar morgen” (1994) TV
“De eenzame oorlog van Koos Tak” (1996) – Tante Heintje (1996) TV
Emmanuelle au 7ème ciel (1993)
Le secret d’Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
Beauty School (1993)
Le parfum d’Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
Magique Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
L’amour d’Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
Emmanuelle à Venise (1993) (TV)
La revanche d’Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
Éternelle Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
Seong-ae-ui chimmuk (1992)
Hot Blood (1990)
In the Shadow of the Sandcastle (1990)
Dracula’s Widow (1988)
The Arrogant (1988)
Casanova (1987) (TV)
Red Heat (1985)
Mata Hari (1985)
The Big Bet (1985)
Emmanuelle IV (1984)
Private School (1983)
Private Lessons (1981)
Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1981)
The Million Dollar Face (1981) (TV)
Un amore in prima classe (1980)
The Nude Bomb (1980)
The Concorde … Airport ’79 (1979)
The Fifth Musketeer (1979)
Letti selvaggi (1979)
Pastorale 1943 (1978)
Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977)
René la canne (1977)
Alice ou la dernière fugue (1977)
La marge (1976)
Une femme fidèle (1976)
Emmanuelle: L’antivierge (1975)
Le jeu avec le feu (1975)
Un linceul n’a pas de poches (1974)
Der Liebesschüler (1974)
Naakt over de schutting (1973)
Because of the Cats (1973)
Frank en Eva (1973)
WARNING: Nude Content (Not Safe For Work)
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