Actress Sylvia Kristel, the Dutch star of the hit 1970s erotic movie Emmanuelle, has died of cancer at age 60. Her agent, Features Creative Management, says in a statement today that Kristel died in her sleep last night. Kristel, a model who turned to acting in the 1970s, had been fighting cancer for several years. Her breakthrough came in Emmanuelle, a 1974 erotic tale directed by Frenchman Just Jaeckin, about the sexual adventures of a man and his beautiful young wife, played by Kristel, in Thailand.
She went on to star in several sequels to Emmanuelle, as well as in Hollywood movies including Private Lessons in 1981. Her agent described her as one of the Netherlands' biggest movie stars, with more than 50 international films to her name, including many erotically tinted films like a 1981 adaptation of DH Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Mata Hari four years later. In Hollywood, she sank into a world of drink and drugs. "I wish I could have skipped that part of my life, she said in a 2005 interview with Dutch newspaper De Volkkrant.