Sylvia Kristel, a Dutch actress who became an international sex star after she played the title role in the 1974 erotic film “Emmanuelle,” died on Wednesday in the Netherlands. She was 60.
The cause was cancer, her agency, Features Creative Management said in a statement on its Web site, without saying where she died. AVN, a trade publication for the sex film industry, reported that she died at home in The Hague.
Ms. Kristel was a willowy, dark-haired model and beauty contest winner in her early 20s with scant acting experience when she was cast by the French director Just Jaeckin as Emmanuelle, the wife of a French diplomat in Bangkok who seeks solace for her boredom in a variety of sexual encounters.
With its simulated sex scenes shot largely in soft focus, an exotic locale and a sentimental pop score, the film became an avatar of soft-core pornography. An immediate hit in France — it stayed at the same theater in Paris for several years — and later in Japan, where it was perceived as a triumph of feminism (mostly, Ms. Kristel pointed out, for one scene in which Emmanuelle climbs on top of her husband during sex), it was distributed in the United States by a major studio, Columbia Pictures, a relatively respectable alternative to the scandalous hits of two years earlier, “Deep Throat” and “Behind the Green Door.”
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