Sylvia Kristel, star of erotic movie ‘Emmanuelle,’ dies at 60


Sylvia Kristel, shown in 1975, starred in the 1974 erotic film “Emmanuelle” and its follow-ups. (AP/AP)
October 18, 2012

Sylvia Kristel, the Dutch model and actress who starred in the hit 1970s erotic movie “Emmanuelle,” died of cancer Oct. 17 in the Netherlands. She was 60.

Her agency, Features Creative Management, confirmed the death.

Ms. Kristel’s breakthrough was “Emmanuelle,” a 1974 erotic tale directed by Frenchman Just Jaeckin about the sexual adventures of a man and his beautiful young wife, played by Ms. Kristel, in Thailand.

She went on to star in several sequels to “Emmanuelle” as well as in Hollywood movies including “Private Lessons” in 1981.

In Hollywood, she sank into a world of drink and drugs. She appeared in many erotically tinted films, including a 1981 adaptation — also directed by Jaeckin — of D.H. Lawrence’s novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” and “Mata Hari” four years later.

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

Ms. Kristel told the Dutch newspaper De Volksrant, “love dictated what I did,” saying her former partner, Belgian author Hugo Claus, persuaded her to star in “Emmanuelle.”

“He said, ‘Thailand — that’s nice. We’ve never been there, and anyway the film will never come out in the Netherlands, so you won’t put your mother to shame,’ ” Ms. Kristel said. “In the end, 350 million people saw it worldwide.”

Ms. Kristel was born Sept. 28, 1952, in Utrecht, where her parents ran a hotel. In a memoir, she wrote that she was sexually abused during her childhood.

She was in a relationship for many years with actor Ian McShane. Her marriages to Alan Turner and Philippe Blot ended in divorce.

Survivors include her partner, Peter Brul, and a son with Claus, Arthur Kristel.