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Oscar-nominated actress Emmanuelle Riva dead at 89

Emmanuelle Riva, the oldest nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, has died at the age of 89.

French stage and screen actress Emmanuelle Riva has died, aged 89.

The veteran star passed away in a clinic in Paris, France on Friday (27Jan17) after a long illness, her agent Anne Alvares Correa told The Associated Press.

Riva was born in Chenimenil and moved to Paris at the age of 26 in 1953 to launch a career as an actress, in spite of opposition from her family.

She first garnered critical acclaim for her role as Elle in Hiroshima mon amour (Hiroshima, My Love), the 1959 classic film directed by Alain Resnais and written by Marguerite Duras, for which the latter was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Riva also appeared in 1959's Kapo, 1993's Three Colours: Blue as the mother of Juliette Binoche's character and in 1999's Venus Beauty Institute alongside Micheline Presle.

More recently Riva appeared in 2011's Le Skylab, which was directed by Julie Delpy, and received rave reviews for her role as Anne Laurent in Michael Haneke's 2012 film Amour. She played an elderly music teacher being cared for by her husband Georges, as played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, and at the age of 85, she became the oldest nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. However, she lost out on the award to Jennifer Lawrence for her performance as a young widower in Silver Linings Playbook.

Riva had a steady stream of gigs until last summer (16), when she made a film, Alma, in Iceland. The actress also enjoyed an extensive theatre career, and in 2014, she returned to the Paris stage performing in Savannah Bay at the Theatre de l'Atelier.

Famed in France for her reserve, Riva never married or had children, and chose to keep her illness private.

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