Sylvia Kristel Dies; First Adult Film Star Was 60

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Sylvia Kristel, an actress who rose to fame as arguably the first adult film star, has died at age 60. Cancer claimed the star's life after a long battle.


"She died during the night during her sleep," her agent confirmed.

Sylvia Kristel was admitted to a hospital in July after suffering a stroke, though she was first diagnosed with throat and lung cancer roughly ten years ago.

Born in Utrecht, Holland, she made waves around the world as the star of 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle, in which she portrayed the title character.

Young model Emmanuelle, married to a much older man, engages in a number of extramarital affairs - as her husband doesn't seem to mind - in Bangkok.

The film garnered a major following, played for 11 years in a theater in Paris, and remains one of the most successful French films of all time of any genre.

Emmanuelle also inspired a number of sequels in which Kristel also starred, and her effort in the "soft core" film even drew critical praise from critic Roger Ebert.

Kristel appeared in nearly 60 titles over the years, including TV movies.

She admitted to drug and alcohol addiction and experienced her share of bad relationships, later saying if she had it to do over again, she would avoid them.

With one exception: Belgian author Hugo Claus. Having won a few notable beauty pageants by the time she was 21, Claus encouraged Kristel to become an actress.

The couple had a son, Arthur, in 1975.