Emmanuelle star Sylvia Kristel dies at 60
Sylvia Kristel, the actress famous, and briefly notorious, for her role as Emmanuelle, has died aged 60. She had been suffering from cancer and had a stroke during the summer. "She died during the night during her sleep," her agent, Marieke Verharen, told reporters.
In 1974, Emmanuelle brought soft-porn film into high street cinemas with the racy tale of a bored housewife’s sexual explorations. It was a film that chimed with the era’s mood of liberation and experimentation, and made $300 million world wide.
The sequels, Emmanuelle 2 and Goodbye Emmanuelle, showed diminishing returns, and Kristel attempted to launch a Hollywood career. Unfortunately she was typecast as a sex siren and appeared in a series of exploitative and shoddy sex comedies. Returning to France, she made a further series of low-budget Emmanuelle movies.
She looked back on that early success with a certain pride. "I have absolutely no regrets," she said. "Because of Emmanuelle, I went on to work solidly for many years, travelled the world and met thousands of people."
She admitted she wasn’t a classical sex symbol. "I'm tall, skinny, look fairly androgynous with no t*ts to speak of, but I did look confident nude and I think that's what attracted people. If I'd had pouty lips and big boobs like Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield I think my life would have been as short as theirs. You can't hang on to those type of looks.
"Emmanuelle was made in 1973," she recalled. "It was a golden time for people to experiment without risk of Aids. Now one has to be so much more careful. I don't think a character like that could exist today."