Belfast Telegraph

Emmanuelle star Sylvia Kristel dies

Sylvia Kristel, the Dutch star of the hit 1970s erotic movie Emmanuelle, has died of cancer at the age of 60.

Her agent said in a statement that the actress died in her sleep on Wednesday night.

Sylvia, a model who turned to acting in the 1970s, had been fighting cancer for several years.

Her breakthrough came in Emmanuelle, a 1974 erotic tale directed by Frenchman Just Jaeckin, about the sexual adventures of a man and his beautiful young wife, played by Sylvia, in Thailand. She went on to star in several sequels to Emmanuelle, as well as in Hollywood movies including Private Lessons in 1981.

Her agent described her as one of the Netherlands' biggest movie stars, with more than 50 international films to her name. Among them were many erotically tinted films, including a 1981 adaptation - also directed by Jaeckin - of DH Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover and Mata Hari, four years later.

She was honoured in 2006 with a special jury prize at the Tribeca Film Festival for a short animated film she directed called Topor et Moi.

Jaeckin, the director who is also a sculptor and has a gallery in Paris, said by telephone that he and Sylvia maintained contact, calling each other every three to four months. But he said he hadn't spoken with her since February.

"I am very sad ... She was like a little sister," he said. "We started together ... Emmanuelle brought us big problems. We were a bit marked. It was a highly contested film then and now it is a cult film."

He said that he knew immediately that Sylvia was destined for the leading role. "When I saw her face, I was thunderstruck," he said.

Kristel is survived by her partner Peter Brul and a son with Claus, Arthur Kristel. She is to be buried at a private funeral.

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