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‘Emmanuelle’ Actress Sylvia Kristel Passes At 60

Sylvia Kristel Dies at Age 60
Rex Features

I saw the news of Sylvia Kristel’s passing a couple days ago and it got me thinking about my ‘formative’ years and how she probably holds a special place in a lot of guys hearts that are ‘of a certain age’

Kristel starred in four of the seven ‘Emmanuelle’ films of te early 70’s. Having a lot of friends with older brothers, she was also the first actress I remember seeing naked on TV. That means a lot to an 11-year old boy! She immediately became that older woman crush. A few years later, she played the lead character in Private Lessons, one of the highest grossing films of 1981, a sex comedy which she played a maid seducing a teenage boy. And you bet we watched that one on video a lot too.

Kristel, who battled drug and alcohol addiction for years and smoked unfiltered cigarettes from the age of 11, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001 and suffered a stroke in June of 2012. She reportedly died in her sleep and is survived by son Arthur, who she had with ex-husband Hugo Claus in 1975.

In all, she appeared in more than 50 films. Despite her role as a softcore porn icon, Kristel insisted she’s nothing like the titular character of the landmark erotic series. “Men still assume I must be like the girl I played in ‘Emmanuelle,'” she said in 1980. “John Wayne was never accused of killing people during his free time, but I’m forever stuck with the image of ‘Emmanuelle.’ The truth is, I should have got an Oscar for that role because I’m nothing like that woman.”

True, John Wayne never got naked in a movie either. Thank goodness.


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