Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, best known for her turn as the eponymous character in the Emmanuelle film series, passed away last night. Kristel, 60, died in her sleep following a battle with cancer, her agent told AFP. She became internationally known for the 1974 French erotic film Emmanuelle, in which she portrayed a sexually promiscuous housewife. The X-rated softcore movie, directed by Just Jaeckin, became a sensation – Dutch media says it was seen by more than 350M people – and ran in a theater on Paris’ Champs-Elysées for over 11 years. Kristel appeared in other films in the series including Emmanuelle 2 in 1975, Goodbye Emmanuelle in 1977 and Emmanuelle 4 in 1984. She also had roles in American films including disaster movie The Concorde: Airport ’79, Get Smart transfer The Nude Bomb in 1980 and 1981’s Private Lessons, a film that itself was controversial for its time given its sexual themes. Kristel returned to work with Jaeckin in 1981’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and made a series of TV movies in the 1990s based on the Emmanuelle character.
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