Romy Schneider

Active - 1953 - 1982  |   Born - Sep 23, 1939 in Vienna, Austria  |   Died - May 29, 1982 in Paris, France  |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy

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The daughter of two popular European actors -- Austrian leading man Wolf Albach-Retty and German film star Magda Schneider -- Romy Schneider began her own career at age 15. Billed as "The German Shirley Temple," Romy starred in a series of fluffy comedies about young Austro-Hungarian Empress Elizabeth, better known as Sissi. She matured rather quickly, right before the eyes of her most fervent fans, with a sexy assignment in director Luchino Visconti's Boccacio 70 (1962). She also successfully tackled a difficult role in Orson Welles' The Trial (1963). After playing a prostitute in the big-budget war film The Victors (1963), Romy began her largely unrewarding Hollywood career, where she was usually cast on the basis of her ripe figure and cute middle-European accent. Settling in France in the 1960s, Romy became one of that country's most respected actresses, winning Cesar awards for her performances in L'Important C'est d'Aimer (1975) and L'Histoire Simple (1978). In her last years, she was beset by several personal tragedies, including the accidental death of her 14-year-old son. Schneider was on the road to emotional and professional recovery when, in May of 1982, she was found dead in her Paris apartment; the official cause of death was heart failure, though many believe that she committed suicide.

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