An icon of soft-core porn has passed away.
Sylvia Kristel, the Dutch actress who taught countless teenage boys about sex with her Emmanuelle films, has died, AFP reported on Thursday.
The 60-year-old actress and model was battling cancer, and suffered a stroke in June.
“She died during the night during her sleep,” Marieke Verharen, her agent, told AFP.
Kristel starred in the first Emmanuelle in 1974 when she was 22. The tawdry tale of a woman’s adventures in France played in mainstream movie theaters and was a huge success, and also controversial for its sexual content with pushed the boundaries of the time. Kristel would later return for several sequels, including Emmanuelle 2, 3 and 4 in the late 1970s and the mid-1980s. The aging beauty then came back in 1990s for several more, such as Emmanuelle Forever and Emmanuelle’s Love.
But Kristel will undoubtedly be forever be remembered as Emmanuelle.
The film, along with its many sequels, were shown regularly on pay cable channels such as Showtime (and still are today). During the time before the Internet, when porn wasn’t quite so easy to find, her movies to quite the popular fare.
Kristel later admitted that Emmanuelle, which was scandalous at the time, wasn’t a very good movie.
“I can’t say it’s a brilliant film, really,” she said in an interview with London’s Telegraph.
Paid $6,000 for the part, she quickly discovered while filming it that when it came to her dialogue or acting, it didn’t matter too much. The audience wouldn’t pay attention.
“This role I had imagined as a springboard shrank me for good… My body was more interesting than my words,” she wrote in her memoir, Undressing Emmanuelle.
For more about Kristel, check out the Telegraph’s insightful interview.
The actress is survived by her son, Arthur.