Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who starred as softcore icon Emmannuelle long before Krista Allen bravely took the character to space, died in her sleep Wednesday night after a years-long battle with cancer. She was 60.
Kristel began her career as a model before getting her big acting/sexing break in French director Just Jaeckin's Emmanuelle, an erotic drama that would become a massive, number-one hit in its native land. The film's popularity in France led to its distribution abroad, allowing audiences around the world to experience the film's non-visually-penetrative sexual encounters, often while their parents were still at work or asleep. That further success would lead to Kristel starring in several sequels--including Emmanuelle's Magic, Emmanuelle's Revenge, Emmanuelle's Perfume, and most-recently, in 1993, the less evocative Emmanuelle VI--and her filming other sexy times like Private Lessons, The Nude Bomb, and Jaeckin's adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover. It also led to something of a softcore boom, influencing the creation of films that would give Cinemax the entirety of its late night content for years to come. May whatever necessary tribute that channel comes up with be more tasteful than the variant take on "pouring one out" libations you're thinking of right now.