Sylvia Kristel, Star Of 'Emmanuelle,' Dies At Age 60
The Dutch star of 1974's Emmanuelle, Sylvia Kristel, who is credited by some as being the world's first true porn star, died on Wednesday night at the age of 60 after a long battle with lung and throat cancer.
Kristel, who most famously starred in Emmanuelle and its multiple sequels, as well as 1981's Private Lessons and Lady Chatterley's Lover, reportedly died during her sleep, according to her agent. Kristel had battled drug and alcohol addiction for years during her Hollywood career, and smoked unfiltered cigarettes from a very young age.
The Emmanuelle series, directed by French director Just Jaeckin, tells the story of a sexually unbridled housewife who doesn't mind exploring beyond the typical marital bonds. The film became almost immediately legendary and Kristel became synonymous with her character's name.
Kristel later credited a lot of the film's success to the changing censorship laws of the time, reports BBC. "In a lot of countries the light went on, and that contributed very much to the success," she said. Not that the film didn't receive an X rating in many countries, including the U.K. Emmanuelle, however, was one of the first films to fully embrace the rating, rather than consider it a box office curse.
Kristel, who was not afraid to appear nude even so early in her career, once famously relayed the story of how she landed the part of Emmanuelle after Jaeckin asked her to remove her dress during the audition. "Luckily it was an easy dress to take off," she remarked. "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 modeling and he thought I was very graceful."
And the rest is history. Kristel is survived by her son, Arthur, whom she had in 1975 during a brief relationship with Belgian author Hugo Claus. She left him shortly afterwards for actor Ian McShane, with whom she carried on a four-year relationship.
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