Sylvia Kristel in 1975
|Born||Sylvia Maria Kristel
28 September 1952
|Died||18 October 2012
|Occupation||Actress, model, memoirist|
|Relatives||Marianne Kristel (sister)|
Kristel was born in Utrecht, Netherlands, the elder daughter of an innkeeper, Jean-Nicholas Kristel, and his wife Piet. In her 2006 autobiography, Nue, she stated that she was sexually abused by an elderly hotel guest when she was nine years old, an experience she otherwise refused to discuss. Her parents divorced when she was 14 years old after her father abandoned the family for another woman. "It was the saddest thing that ever happened to me", she said of the experience of her parents' separation.
Kristel began modeling when she was 17. She entered the Miss TV Europe contest in 1973 and won. Multilingual, she spoke Dutch, English, French, German and Italian fluently, and several other languages to a lesser extent. Kristel gained international attention in 1974 for playing the title character in the softcore film Emmanuelle, which remains one of the most successful French films ever produced. After the success of Emmanuelle, she often played roles that capitalised on that sexually provocative image, most notably starring in an adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981), and a nudity-filled biopic of the World War I spy in Mata Hari (1985). Her Emmanuelle image followed her to the United States, where she played Nicole Mallow, a maid who seduces a teenage boy, in the sex comedy Private Lessons (1981). Another mainstream American film appearance was a brief comic turn in the Get Smart revival film The Nude Bomb in 1980.
Although Private Lessons was one of the highest-grossing independent films of 1981 (ranking #28 in US domestic gross), Kristel reportedly saw none of the profits and continued to appear in movies and last played Emmanuelle in the early 1990s. In May 1990, she appeared in the television series My Riviera, filmed at her home in Saint-Tropez and offering insights of her life and motivations in an interview with writer-director Michael Feeney Callan. In 2001, she played a small role in Forgive Me, Dutch filmmaker Cyrus Frisch's debut. In May 2006, Kristel received an award at the Tribeca Film Festival, New York for directing the animated short film Topor and Me, written by Ruud Den Dryver. The award was presented by Gayle King. After a hiatus of eight years, she acted in the film, Two Sunny Days (2010), and that same year in her last acting roll, she played Eva de Leeuw in the TV series The Swing Girls.
In September 2006, Kristel's autobiography Nue (Nude) was published in France. It was translated into English as Undressing Emmanuelle: A Memoir, by Fourth Estate, 2 July 2007 (ISBN 978-0007256952), in which she told of a turbulent personal life blighted by addictions to drugs, alcohol, and her quest for a father figure, which resulted in some destructive relationships with older men. The book received some positive reviews.
Her first major relationship was with Belgian author Hugo Claus, more than two decades her senior, with whom she had her only child, a son, Arthur (born 1975). She left her husband for British actor Ian McShane, whom she had met on the set of the film The Fifth Musketeer (1979). They moved in together in Los Angeles where he had promised to help her launch her American career. However their five-year affair would lead to no significant career break for Kristel but a relationship she describes in her autobiography as "awful – he was witty and charming but we were too much alike". About two years into the relationship she began using cocaine. This proved her downfall, although at the time she thought of it as a "supervitamin, a very fashionable substance, without danger, but expensive, far more exciting than drowning in alcohol – a fuel necessary to stay in the swing."
Interviewed in 2006 for the documentary Hunting Emmanuelle, she describes how, nurturing an expensive cocaine habit, she made a number of poor decisions, including selling her interest in Private Lessons to her agent for $150,000; the film would gross more than $26 million domestically. Since McShane, she married twice, first to an American businessman which ended after five months, and then to film producer Phillippe Blot. She spent a decade with Belgian radio producer Fred De Vree, until his death.
Illness and death
A heavy smoker of unfiltered cigarettes from the age of eleven, Kristel was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001 and underwent three courses of chemotherapy and surgery after the disease spread to her lungs. On 12 June 2012, she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in critical condition. Four months later, she died in her sleep at age 60 from esophageal and lung cancer. She was survived by her son, Arthur Claus, and her younger sister, Marianne. Sylvia Kristel is buried at her place of birth in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Filmography and television work
- The Swing Girls (2010) (TV) as Eva de Leeuw
- Two Sunny Days (2010) as Angela
- Bank (2002) as Wife
- Sexy Boys (2001) as La sexologue
- De vriendschap (2001) as Sylvia
- Vergeef me (2001) as Chiquita (on stage)
- Die Unbesiegbaren (2000) (TV)
- Lijmen/Het Been (2000) as Jeanne
- An Amsterdam Tale (1999) as Alma
- Film 1 (1999) as Patron
- Harry Rents a Room (1999) as Miss Pinky
- Gaston's War (1997) as Miep Visser
- Die Sexfalle (1997) (TV) as Nicole Fuchs
- "Onderweg naar morgen" (1994) Serie TV as Trix Odijk (1996)
- "De eenzame oorlog van Koos Tak" (1996) - Tante Heintje (1996) Episodio TV
- Emmanuelle au 7ème ciel (1993) as Emmanuelle
- Le secret d'Emmanuelle (1993) (TV)
- Beauty School (1993) as Sylvia
- Le parfum d'Emmanuelle (1993) (TV) as Emmanuelle
- Magique Emmanuelle (1993) (TV) as Emmanuelle
- L'amour d'Emmanuelle (1993) (TV) as Old Emmanuelle
- Emmanuelle à Venise (1993) (TV) as Old Emmanuelle
- La revanche d'Emmanuelle (1993) (TV) as Old Emmanuelle
- Éternelle Emmanuelle (1993) (TV) as Old Emmanuelle
- Seong-ae-ui chimmuk (1992)
- Hot Blood (1990) as Sylvia
- In the Shadow of the Sandcastle (1990) as Angel
- Dracula's Widow (1988) as Vanessa
- The Arrogant (1988) as Julie
- Casanova (1987) (TV) as Maddalena
- Red Heat (1985) as Sofia
- Mata Hari (1985) as Mata Hari
- The Big Bet (1985) .... Michelle
- Emmanuelle IV (1984) as Sylvia / Emmanuelle
- Private School (1983) as Ms. Regina Copoletta
- Private Lessons (1981) as Nicole Mallow
- Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981) as Lady Constance Chatterley
- The Million Dollar Face (1981) (TV) as Brett Devereaux
- Un amore in prima classe (1980) as Beatrice
- The Nude Bomb (1980) as Agent 22
- The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979) as Isabelle
- The Fifth Musketeer (1979) as Maria Theresa
- Letti selvaggi (1979) as The Lady on the Bed/The Unhappy Wife
- Mysteries (1978) as Dany Kielland
- Pastorale 1943 (1978) as Miep Algera
- Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977) as Emmanuelle
- René la canne (1977) as Krista
- Alice ou la dernière fugue (1977) as Alice Caroll
- La marge (1976) as Diana
- Une femme fidèle (1976) as Mathilde Leroy
- Emmanuelle: L'antivierge (1975) as Emmanuelle
- Le jeu avec le feu (1975) as Diana Van Den Berg
- Un linceul n'a pas de poches (1974) as Avril
- Der Liebesschüler (1974) as Andrea
- Emmanuelle (1974) as Emmanuelle
- Naakt over de schutting (1973) as Lilly Marischka
- Because of the Cats (1973) as Hannie Troost
- Frank en Eva (1973) as Sylvia
- Sylvia Kristel, star of Emmanuelle, dies, BBC News, 18 October 2012, retrieved 18 October 20128
- Corder, Mike. "'Emmanuelle' star Sylvia Kristel dies at age 60". The Associated Press, Xfinity.com. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- "Actrice Sylvia Kristel (60) overleden". de Volkskrant. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- "Sylvia Kristel". The New York Times.
- "Sylvia Kristel". Filmreference.com.
- "Sylvia Kristel: Family and Companions". Yahoo! Movies.
- Kristel, Sylvia (2007). Undressing Emmanuelle: A Memoir. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 978-0-00-725695-2.
- The New York Times review of Private Lessons
- 1981 Yearly Box Office Results. Box Office Mojo.
- Cadwalladr, Carole (2007-7-21). "Sylvia bares her soul". The Guardian.
- Syvlia bears her soul by Carole Cadwalladr The Guardian review 22 July 2007
- Donaldson, Brian (30 June 2007). "No regrets". The Herald.
- "Emmanuelle star Sylvia Kristel suffers stroke". Express.co.uk.
- "Emmanuelle star Sylvia Kristel dies" Irish Times. 18 October 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sylvia Kristel.|
- Sylvia Kristel at AllRovi
- Sylvia Kristel at the Internet Movie Database
- Sylvia Kristel at the TCM Movie Database
- Interview with Kristel (in Dutch)
- Interview with Sylvia Kristel, The Daily Telegraph, 16 June 2007
- Interview: Sylvia Kristel, the world's most famous porn star Interview with The Independent, 2 July 2007
- Sylvia Kristel profile in The New York Times
- Sylvia Kristel at Find a Grave
- The Times (UK) review of Kristel's autobiography